The marketing strategy for the Toyota Prius is the greatest example of green marketing out there today, and in a way, epitomizes the whole "Green Marketing" trend.Take a look at these commercials and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.
Check it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq4nrmnqY9o
Check it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeOE4Vg7Cq0&feature=channel
These commercials are amazing! Even if you're an ignorant s.o.b that still thinks it's cool to drive around a huge SUV, after watching these commercials you have to admit that the PRIUS is a great environmentally sound car. The creative direction of this commercial is what helps it really stand apart from all the other "Green marketing" that is out there. I mean, they use babies and people dressed in awesome costumes to create an animated natural environment. I wont be surprised when Disney catches on to this visually stunning animation technique and starts making all of their movies with people making up every little detail of the scenery. The scenes are filled with bright colors, and people associate bright colors with being clean. It's like the Prius does no harm to the environment at all, right. The thing that really gets me is the music used in these commercials. I'm the type of person that watches tv with extreme skepticism, never really buying into the b.s messages that are constantly being thrown at the viewer. But with these commercials, I became brain dead and somewhat hypnotized and just stopping questioning and bought into the whole idea behind the Prius. I credit this reaction to the music. The music sounds positive, light, happy, and most importantly has a very natural feel because it's all acapella. There is no manufactured beat, it's all created with the natural sounds of human voices. I guess what I'm really getting at, is that every little detail in these commercials is tailored to the idea of being green, and it totally works, sounds great.
Here's the thing about the Prius that epitomizes the whole "Green Marketing", it shows a world that doesn't actually exist, it's like living in a fantasy. "Green Marketing doesn't actually exist. The only true green marketing is no marketing at all. Obviously that is the extreme way of thinking because companies wouldn't exist without marketing and advertising. For what the Prius is trying to do, for them to sell their message to the consumers, they have to go against what they actually stand for. The amount of production that goes into making a commercial like that produces tons of waste and uses up tons of energy. Again, I know this is totally extreme, but it's something that should be considered. There is always a give and take with thinking "Green", which makes "Green Marketing" somewhat of a mythical idea.
Here is another video of a Prius iphone application, that is being showcased in Times Square. Times Square? Really, Prius? Now is that going with the whole "green" idea that you so strongly put forward?....mmmm....I'm not sure. The app is totally sweet, but again it points out that in order to market a brand or product you can't really be green.
Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vix2GkK1FJU
In doing research for this blog post, I read through lots of issues and arguments on Green Marketing and whether or not it can actually exist. There is a lot of debate on certain issues, but it seems that everyone agrees that all we can really do is taking small steps in the right direction. While the Prius isn't totally environmentally sound, it's at least a great start in moving forward (toyota tagline).
In my research I also came across some interesting debates on how Green the Internet actually is. In today's world, the Internet is the greatest thing ever. At first glance, the internet sounds like a pretty great thing, because it reduces the cutting down of trees and reduces pollution. But the energy that is used by computers and power-plants to allow the internet to exist is creating a lot of pollution and killing our natural environment. The emissions that these power-plants give off do really bad things to our air, which affects wildlife and our environment, which ultimately leads to human health problems. So again, the internet seems really Green and great, but there really isn't a way for it to be as great as people make it out to be. But like the Prius, it's a step in the right direction for now. If you're wondering what you can do to help, a big thing that I came across is Wind Powered Web hosting, which you can get for the same price ($10/month).
Interesting points for us designer's that I found:
"Peope are sick of seeing the same images to represent "Green" thinking. It's one reason why consumers have green fatigue." - Jacquelyn Ottman's presentation at Sustainable Brands 2008 conference. She goes on to point out that consumers have started to questions whether or not a product is actually green or if it is just hiding behind the cliche green imagery.
This point seems to be a huge thing for us as designers to consider. We need to always be thinking creatively to come up with new ideas, so that they don't get looked over and ignored behind cliche representations.
Lastly, here are some cool companies that are doing some great things to help us designers be more green about our marketing: - French Paper Company (water powered!) - Ecojot - Green Graffiti
Sources: "Sustainable Brands Conference 2008". Jacquelyn Ottman. Green Business Innovators.com
"Green Marketing: What Works; What Doesn't. A marketing Study of Practitioners." http://lornali.com/green-more/green-marketing-what-works-what-doesnt-what-they-think-blog