Posts Tagged ‘Green Marketing’
The Great Recession is accelerating the natural shift of Baby Boomers from rampant consumers to more responsible buyers, and the Green movement is also enhancing the tendency to become more responsible and less acquisitive. Boomers remain aspirational, but those aspirations are changing from material to spiritual (in a very broad sense, which means getting off the fast track, not giving a hoot what the “Joneses” are doing, smelling the roses along the way, etc.)
Matt Thornhill wrote about “responsible consumerism” in a MediaPost column, which gives a good label to the shift in society as a whole, and Boomers in particular. “…people focus not on buying more, but on getting more out of what they buy. It’s a consumer mindset our grandparents had, thanks to the Great Depression.” Read the rest of this entry »
The Federal Trade Commission submitted a proposal last October to update what it calls the Green Guides, which tell companies how to promote the various claims they can promote about their product. The FTC is now digesting the public comments it collected (that window closed on December 10.)
I am curious (and may take a look at some point) as to who commented, and what the balance was between companies complaining that the new guidelines will be too strict, unfairly limiting their right to market their green credentials, and consumer groups interested in more accurate disclosure of said benefits.
We will have to wait until 2011 to find out, but here are some of the recommended changes the FTC proposes:
- Marketers should not make blanket, general claims that a product is “environmentally friendly” or “eco-friendly.” The FTC’s own consumer perception study finds that such claims are likely to suggest that the product has specific and far-reaching environmental benefits. “Very few products, if any, have all the attributes consumers seem to perceive from such claims, making these claims nearly impossible to substantiate,” said the FTC in their press release.
- Marketers should not to use unqualified certifications or seals of approval that do not specify the basis for the certification. The Guides make a bigger deal of this that previously: They will advise marketers that the qualifications they apply to certifications or seals should be “clear, prominent, and specific.” No more vague “stamps of approval” with nothing to back it up.
- Marketers must understand how consumers are likely to perceive certain environmental claims, such as “degradable, compostable, or “free of” a particular substance.” For example, a “degradable product” must decompose in a “reasonably short period of time” – no more than one year.
In effect, the FTC will try to clamp down on vague claims that have no substantiation and attempt to take a free ride on consumer desires to buy ecologically friendly products.
Good marketers, of course, have been taking the high road already, because they know consumers are not stupid. Long-term, the truth will out, and products that have been masquerading as “green” will suffer a loss of market share.
No need, then, to wait for the FTC to make this proposal final. The best course of action is to get started now on adopting its commonsense guidelines.