Green and fuzzy brands beware. 78% of Americans would prefer the ‘mainstream’ brand version of a green product over something with which they are unfamiliar.

This is just one of the conclusions of a study done by OgilveEarth (itself a mainstream version of a green brand) in their latest study, Mainstream Green, presented by Freya Williams.
Ogilve’s main thrust is that most people would prefer not to change the habits and attitudes that Madison Avenue has so lovingly taught them over the last 75 years or so. That is, life is to be lived conveniently while driving fast and keeping up with the Joneses – all at WalMart prices.
For marketers of more sustainable products and services here are a few key points, edited for brevity. And maybe just a bit editorialized. Sorry.

  • Most people value themselves first, then their families, then community, then country, while the planet that supports the whole thing falls to a distant 5th.
  • 70% of Americans would rather cure cancer than save the environment (presumably not linking the two issues very effectively) In China, where you can cut the air with a chainsaw, the ratio is reversed.
  • Keep innovating. Sustainability should be New! Modern! SEXY!
  • Lose the burlap, leaves and earths from all green packaging.
  • Turn eco-freindly into male-ego-friendly. Apparently carrying a reusable shopping bag is too purse-like (No, I didn’t make this up!)
  • Reassure people that they are ‘normal’ in making sustainable behaviour change.

Certainly the report makes good points.
Of course, they are correct when they say the masses are key to massive change. And I would love for all electric cars to have the performance of a Tesla with a Hyundai price. But to me, if Al Gore is a doctor saying we have to exercise or we will die, OgilveEarth’s report is trying to sell us a fat-jiggling belt that melts off pounds while we sleep.
Download the report for yourself here and let me know if you agree.

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