the grass is greener on the internet


Green-wash my DM
August 27, 2008, 3:50 pm
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Further to my post yesterday on the concept of making marketing communications greener, the Direct Mail Special Report from May’s AdNews tells me that some companies are trying to make direct mail a little more eco-friendly.

I have to admit that I’d never heard of carbon neutral paper before…and I’m just a little curious as to how you calculate it (do they take into account the carbon absorption lost by the trees cut down?) but Paperlinx/Australian Paper claims that their new range, [go green with] Envi, is another way to ease that corporate guilt. They’re accredited by the Australian Department for Climate Change’s ‘Greenhouse Friendly’ scheme, which has to count for something, but I’d still like to see their calculations.

Meanwhile, other suggestions for getting green with your DM include, using non-toxic inks, waterless printing and reducing waste by recycling where possible.

But hopefully, as the whole report tries to sell, if direct mailers are becoming more targeted and better at engaging consumers, there won’t be much waste at all. [Personally, I will directly bin anything that is addressed to ‘the homeowner’ purely out of distaste.]

You know you’re a marketing geek when…

…I was waiting in line at one of my favourite cafes today and amusing myself by looking at their miniature cakes, which they’re known for. These cakes both come in a smaller and larger version, with a substantial price difference between them. One of the types of cake is a lamington which is decorated with hand-shaved coconut. I happened to notice that the shavings on the smaller cakes were much larger than those on the larger ones. My first thought? Is this a marketing ploy to make people feel like the smaller cakes are ‘too small’ so that they upgrade?

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To B or not…
August 8, 2008, 6:20 am
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I’m not the most productive in the mornings, especially in winter, and so I was glad to find out about the B-Society, who are trying to get acknowledgement for those of us who just operate better later in the day. The science isn’t the most solid I’ve ever heard, but they claim that some people are genetically wired to take on the morning and some are more geared to the night (it’s not laziness!). Scientifically backed or not, there’s a growing number of people joining the movement and now employers have the opportunity to be certified as B-people friendly.

With CSR as the new luxury trend, it’s not surprising to see a whole host of watches declaring themselves to be ‘carbon neutral’. Perhaps the top-down trend will show results, with leadership starting to come from a variety of luxury brands (like LVMH’s Veuve Clicquot, previously mentioned). Certainly IWC’s ‘Climate Action’ edition of their Ingenieur line will be an aspirational token for the few, with slick design and only 1000 pieces to be sold. Part profits will go to NGO The Climate Group, and just in case you forget which cause you’re supporting they’ve engraved it on the back for you.

However, it might just be outdone by Wyler Geneve’s GMT, which not only claims to have a well-designed and cutting edge watch but that its entire production is carbon neutral. Certified by the CarbonNeutral Company, it is the first watch to be able to claim this. But with the company essentially just calculating the emissions then paying offsets, not much has changed in actually design and manufacturing – wouldn’t it be nice if their whole product line followed?

That’s what Citizen, slightly lower in the luxury stakes, has been aiming for with its Eco-Drive brand. Watches in this line use solar energy to keep their batteries charged, meaning that ‘you’ll never have to change your watch battery again’. It’s not going to win any design awards and could be pushing the ‘a little bit goes a long way’ philosophy, but it’s novel, and likely to get them a little more custom.

The main impression that I get is that, in timepieces at least, it’s a lot of green-washing for sales and not much overall consideration of environmental impact.

We seem to have been obsessed with anti-aging and how to live healthier, longer. In fact, throughout history we’ve been caught up with almost everything which is hailed as the next Elixir of Immortality. When you can’t choose your time to go, it seems like a nice idea to be able to live forever. In modern times it’s a multi-million dollar industry which keeps growing as the percentage of elderly in our populations increases.

However – and this could just be my impression – as we get even closer to that concept of immortality there’s more people expressing the desire to cut their existence off when they hit a certain stage. With rising life insurance, disassociated family units, increased health bills and on top of that never knowing whether you’ll have enough for your retirement, it’s just not easy being old. So when you feel you’d be happy to die tomorrow, but you’re not going to die tomorrow, what then?

Are we going to move into times when immortality isn’t going to be the ever-vaunted state?