Backlash Brewing Against Green Marketing Images

by | Feb 10, 2008

Getty Images has released its second MAP Report (shorthand for what Makes A Picture) covering environmental-related marketing. Here are some of the reports key findings:

Any Color but Green

“Expect the future to be any color but green because right now everybody uses green (and darker shades are predominant). The environment comes in all colors, and visual clichés do not compel interest. Expect to see a backlash on all familiar environmental iconography. Innovators will embrace the mucky, the messy, the colorful.”

Green Neurosis
“Beware green neurosis – being environmentally astute is complex and contradictory. What seems right today turns out to be so wrong tomorrow. Consumers know this more than the brands communicating to them – they want to feel right rather than respond to weighty stats. So don’t stand on a principle; indeed, look to embrace the ambiguity if possible.”

Engage Before Explaining
“Environmentalism in marketing is about caring, not just knowing. So visually, emotionally, we will move to more communication of the impact of our actions. Facts and reason are secondary, merely “hygiene factors” in marketing communication (unlike editorial) stories.”

A Womb of My Own
“As the world lets us down, we want to be happy homemakers more than ever. It’s the trend that could be labeled
“a womb of my own,” because it’s all about giving us some kind of primordial comfort. Advertisers offer security back to us in the warm, intimate shades of homemaking and home issues, where the big scary environment can be shut out.”

Fluid Brand Tone
“Business needs to be open to continuous image change – it needs fluid brand tone. Don’t build on shifting ground, but be open to change. What’s right today may be wrong tomorrow, so paint that brand image a little more loosely – more abstract, value-laden and info-poor. (Bioethanol production, for example, is increasingly seen as a terrible thing, driving environmental destruction and acute poverty rather than sustainability.)

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