Pi Attitude Zone: Self-Fulfilment

The Green Movement... Moves Mainstream [1]

These days we all talk the green talk. We just seem less bent on walking the green walk. Now it seems that just about everyone’s mind-set is at least a pale shade of green. In a recent survey some 85% of Americans said they “…want to protect the environment for the benefit of future generations”. Only a tiny percentage disagreed. That sounds like a pretty unanimous voice.

It was not always thus. Decades ago, when the world was getting used to Peaceniks and Bra-Burners, it also found itself facing Eco-Warriors. The Green movement was born. Swedish pressure groups forced paper-mills to stop running off bleach into rivers. Soft drink bottling plants found their factory gates surrounded by a million “non-returnable” glass bottles. Rubber boats attacked whaling ships. Were they mad?  Whatever next?

The original  “Greens”, a strident little group of activists, were initially written off as manifestly insane, until they started political parties and began to win seats in European parliamentary elections. Advertisers were initially dismissive. Then they finally woke up to the scary realization that they were going to have to take the “Loony Greens” more seriously, or lose a big chunk of their business.

Market research played a seminal role in the early propagation of green marketing trends. Questionnaire clipboards filled up with nervous probes into companies’ callous indifference to the fate of our planet.

Of course, what answer you get depends on what question you ask. The prevailing ‘green’ question in early questionnaires seemed to be ‘agree/disagree’ options on “I would be willing to boycott companies whose products contribute to pollution”.

Unsurprisingly, the result was a torrent of flower-strewn, corporate-credential-polishing advertising which said little more than “We’re Green”, “We’re even Greener”, “New! Greener Than Ever!” and so on. The focus was on inoculating brands against rejection by consumers. Even now, whole pods of TV commercials deliver bland and unfocused eco-friendly messages, one after the other, in sectors from household products to automotive to *gasp* even big oil. You’ll know the process has become completely sterile the day you see an ad saying “No other brand gives you more Greenness”.

Zone: Self-Fulfilment Country: USA / North America Product –