The Conformity of Confusion

I can’t help but think the number will have dropped in 2009 but EL reports that self-preservation green advertising was up, way up, in 2008. It does seem to have lost a bit of the initial ubiquity as marketeers figure out how difficult and complicated sustainability is to portray in American society as it is presently configured. Not that difficulty or complexity has ever stopped us/them before; and everyone should read this for a better idea of at least half of the target audience for greenwashing. Threading the needle: directing a sustainable product campaign to appeal to/overlap a population segment, of which half does not believe there is a problem. Let’s make a chart of the kind of spectrum I’m imagining.

So, your campaign, in order to be effective, must sufficiently appeal to an amorphous grouping of potential users/buyers of your product, half which must feel comforted by the fact that your company ‘gets it’ about a changing world – and the other half of which must know that you know it’s mostly if not all BS. Does this explain why these consumer appeals must be, by definition, devilishly clever or childishly absurd, and/or an insulting combination of both?

Of course, in the race for reason among this madness, the seven sins of greenwashing, complete with perfectly sound benchmarks for product performance and little green cartoon aliens. The question for the marketeers is, which clever/absurd elements appeal to which halves of the target demographic?