Saving our planet; one bag at a time

February 22, 2007

Biggest ad agencies predict wave of green marketing campaigns in 2007

Filed under: Branding, Environment — Kaajal @ 1:12 pm

Green Brands will do best in 2007

See this article in the Financial Times, London. The heads of AMV BBDO, JWT, Ogilvy, RKCR/Y&R and Saatchi & Saatchi have told the FT they believe green advertising will grow in the next 12 months.

But they sound a cautionary note. They warn companies against “rushing in” and exaggerating their environmental commitments, if they cannot substantiate them.

That’s why giving away reusable fabric bags is such a great idea. The medium itself substantiates your claim. Reinforces my belief that reusable fabric bags, particularly cotton or jute shopping bags, constitute one of the most cost effective advertising and promotional media in the world today. Just look at our line up of bags on our website and check out the prices.

If you’d prefer to read it here, I’ve reproduced the entire text of the article. Read on.

Wave of eco-marketing predicted
By Carlos Grande,Marketing Correspondent
February 12 2007 02:00

The biggest advertising agencies are predicting a wave of green marketing campaigns as businesses compete on their environmental claims - some even arguing that it could become a matter of their very survival.

Agencies say communicating green values is fast becoming an act of “corporate hygiene” needed to retain competitiveness and standing with customers.

The heads of AMV BBDO, JWT, Ogilvy, RKCR/Y&R and Saatchi & Saatchi have told the FT they believe green advertising will grow in the next 12 months. All were in the top six UK agencies by gross income in the most recent industry report by Willott Kingston Smith, the leading advertising auditing firm.

The agencies say environmental branding has risen up boards’ agendas, and point to the spate of recent rival green announcements in the grocery retail sector.

Farah Ramzan Golant, chief executive of AMV, said: “We’re at a tipping point. I really believe we are going to see more of this.”

Advertisers that make green claims for products and services however face unprecedented public scrutiny, particularly from bloggers and other web users.

Some experts warn those that unveil unpersuasive or me-too initiatives on carbon neutrality or sustainable sourcing, for instance, will see little benefit.

At best they would not receive the free press coverage some announcements had enjoyed but would have to use paid-for marketing to persuade sceptics. At worse they could suffer a backlash if their claims proved wrong or inconsistent.

Lee Daley, chairman and chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi UK, said: “Brands will not be able to opt out of this. Companies which do not live by a green protocol will be financially damaged because consumers will punish them. In the longer term, I do not think they will survive.”

There is still some scepticism at the commercial benefits of making environmental commitments. But they have long been seen as a display of corporate social responsibility. More recently it has been argued that they can influence brand preferences of some consumers.

Alison Burns, chief executive of JWT London, said: “Once a company makes an environmental statement, its direct competitor is now conspicuous by its absence if it hasn’t too. Consumers are suspicious of that silence. This isn’t restricted to a particular industry. It is in-creasingly pervasive. There is an underlying expectation that we are asking more questions about companies’ intentions. That is partly a phenomenon of the digital age where consumers are used to interviewing brands like they might be interviewing people for a job.”

Agencies warn companies against “rushing in” and exaggerating their environmental commitments, if they cannot substantiate them.

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints about green campaigns from Scottish & Southern Energy, Npower and Volkswagen. Although such complaints are rare, the ASA expects them to increase.

James Murphy, chief executive of RKCR/Y&R, the advertising agency for Marks and Spencer, adds: “There is no shortage of interest groups scrutinising brands and businesses. This whole area is a bit of a vigilante market. I think in time a strong environmental brand will become a hygiene factor of doing business. It will also allow you to increase customer loyalty and charge a premium.”

Businesses urged to beware activist blog views

Businesses keen to market themselves as green have been warned not to mistake the activist views of eco-bloggers for those of mainstream internet users.

Initiative Media, the media buying group, tracked environmental discussions among 18,000 users on specialist English language blogs and websites as well as mainstream online forums.

It advises advertisers to be selective about the causes they endorse and to ensure any new green products serve a consumer need rather than appeal to the altruism of a minority.

In its research, Initiative classified 47 per cent of the online messages it surveyed as ambivalent towards “the state and future of the environment”, and 39 per cent as optimistic. This is in contrast to the often cautionary, urgent tone of green campaigners.

Consumers’ moods also varied by subject. They were more likely to be positive on alternative energy and vehicle emissions than global warming. Many were confused or apathetic because of apparently conflicting arguments.

Initiative said the study, conducted between April and June 2006, was skewed towards US sites and the findings might reflect this.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007



    I live in Quito, Ecuador, which is as close to paradise one might get. In fact all of Ecuador is unique. There is probably no other country like it in the world. The climate is great, the people are wonderful, and there are four very distinct climatic areas in the country. It is one of the few travel secrets left in the world.

    Unfortunately this paradise is slowly being destroyed by a few multinational companies who have absolutely no regard for this fragile environment.

    Several years ago companies such as COCA-COLA, PEPSI-COLA, INBEV (BECK’S BEER, BASS, BUDWIESER)
    SAB-MILLER (MILLER BEER, CASTLE BEER, AMSTED LAGER), started introducing most of their beverages in non-returnable containers. The soft drink manufacturers now produce a wide range of non-returnable plastic containers of all their products.

    The beer manufacturers also are now producing non-returnable drinks in bottles and cans.

    These products include soft drinks, bottled water, beer, fruit juice drinks and energy drinks.

    Unfortunately no where in Ecuador is there a refund law requiring these multinational companies to accept responsibility for their irresponsible marketing strategies.

    Because of this total disregard for the environment and only their concern for high profits, the country is literally becoming choked by the non-returnable containers.

    The garbage generated by these products is becoming a very serious problem.


    These are not the only companies selling these non-returnable containers. Included in this list are whiskey manufacturers such as Johnny Walker, Cutty Sark, Chivas Regal, most of the California wine companies, Chilean wine companies, Heineken Beer, Budweiser. etc.

    All these companies are not allowed to carry on these type of irresponsible marketing practices in North America or Europe, but because there is a lack of laws in countries such as Ecuador, they do whatever they want and feel no obligation to correct these criminal practices.

    If you go to the web pages of these soft drink companies or liquor companies, they all talk about their social responsibilities. Believe me this is only a farce. Not only do they pollute the country side with their products, they illegally sell to establishments that do not have permits to sell liquor, they sell their products close to local high schools and churches.

    They also openly sponsor amateur and professional sports teams. Again, in North America and in Europe this would not be permitted. What kind of message are they sending to the youth that it is alright to mix alcohol with sports?

    I am asking your support to put pressure on these companies. I would like you to first start a worldwide boycott of products manufactures by AMBEV, SAB-MILLER, COCA-COLA, PEPSI-COLA, JOHNNY WALKER WHISKEY, CUTTY SARK; CHIVAS-REGAL.

    I would like you to start an email campaign sending a clear message to all these companies that they cannot carry on with unacceptable marketing practices such as they do in Ecuador.

    The people and the country of Ecuador are no different than the people of North America and Europe. We deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity.
    This country cannot be used as a personal dumping ground for these types of multinational companies. If their marketing and sales practices are unacceptable in North America and Europe, why should they be allowed to do as they please in a small country such as Ecuador?

    Finally, I would ask that you send this letter around the world to all environmental groups, politicians, news media, and anyone who can pressure these types of companies into permanently stopping these types of environmentally destructive practices.

    Thank you;

    Zoltan S. Strigan

    Comment by zoltan strigan — February 23, 2007 @ 1:12 am

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