Firm News

Marketing Campaigns are Turning Green

July 5, 2018

How and why companies advocate their commitment to the environment

More people are becoming aware of the impact their actions have on the environment, and they want to use companies that implement ecofriendly practices. In one global study conducted in 2015, 66% of the respondents said they would pay more to consume products from a company that’s committed to positive social and environmental change, and this percentage is expected to rise. A positive public response is a good side effect of going green, but companies experience other perks, as well. Kermit the Frog said “it ain’t easy bein’ green,” but it can be well worth it. Going green can create a healthier workspace, offer legal and tax advantages, improve the efficiency of a business, save money, and—most importantly—conserve natural resources. To get the word out, green marketing campaigns have become very popular. Let’s take a look at a few campaigns…

Coca-Cola

While copious amounts of container trash counters sustainability, Coca-Cola has initiated several campaigns through its “Live Positively” philosophy to establish itself as an ethical brand. In 2015, the company released the PlantBottle—the first plastic bottle made solely from plant materials. This bottle overtook the 2009 “PlantBottle” that was made from just 30% plant material. Commercials for the initiative emphasized the groundbreaking technology and the importance of recycling. Arctic Home was Coca-Cola’s campaign with WWF to raise money to save polar bears. They put an image of a mother polar bear and her two cubs on containers and prompted consumers to donate one dollar by texting their package code to a dedicated number. Coca-Cola made an initial donation of $2 million and matched every donation made by a consumer through a package code. By the end of Arctic Home, Coca-Cola donated $3 million to the conservation of polar bear habitats.

Tide

In 2006, Tide released Tide Coldwater—the first detergent specifically designed for cold water washing. The company kicked off a consumer education campaign and strategically partnered with the Alliance to Save Energy to start the Coldwater Challenge that prompted consumers to switch to cold water washing. Commercials and store displays emphasized that cold water washing conserves energy, saves money, reduces carbon dioxide emissions, and is just as effective as hot water washing. Tide Coldwater once had its own website dedicated to the cause, but the initiative lost its steam. It’s possible that consumers in 2006 did not see the immediate benefit of saving energy or trust the cleaning abilities of cold water. Regardless, Procter & Gamble—Tide’s parent company—made an aggressive corporate goal with the release of Tide Coldwater to convert 70% of total washing machine loads to cold water by 2020. It’s currently around 40%. They no longer mention this goal on their website, and the detergent wasn’t as popular as they had expected; so it’s unlikely the goal will be reached. However, it’d be interesting to see how a campaign for 70% cold water washing would play out in 2018.

Toyota

Toyota is regarded as one of the most green car manufacturers in the world, and in 2010, the company launched a marketing campaign called “Harmony Between Man, Nature, and Machine” for the newest Prius. At the time of its release, the model was perhaps “the most ecologically friendly car on the road,” and Toyota wanted to stress its low emissions, comfort, and advanced technology. Six major cities across the country saw large solar flower structures that offered people free Wi-Fi, seating, and outlets for charging. Solar ventilation bus shelters were built to demonstrate that the Solar Roof on the Prius could cool a parked vehicle. Additional efforts included advertising carbon emissions calculators on social media and a television commercial with a landscape portrayed by people dressed up as trees, flowers, clouds, etc. The campaign demonstrated that the Prius is ecofriendly, but it doesn’t sacrifice your comfort. Making ecofriendly decisions can be difficult, but Toyota makes it appear easy and enjoyable.

As more consumers become aware of environmental impacts globally, brands are moving towards green marketing initiatives to address concerns and advocate for a healthier environment for all. 

Alexandra Ellis is an Intern at Bond Moroch.