Behold, the poster child for bad green advertising

Behold, the poster child for bad green advertising

Click here to view the “Polar bears falling from the sky” commercial.

This has to be one of the worst examples of green advertising ever created. I don’t care about the politics involved. If the client for this spot wants to bash and battle the airline industry, then good for them.

What concerns me is the gross negligence, and more likely incompetence, of the creative product. It’s another great example of messaging that’s created without a very good understanding of the green/sustainable space.

This type of ad is embarrassing to those of us that live deeply within the sustainable communication world. Here are two big reasons why:

  1. It does nothing for the success of the client or the movement. Sure, It serves its purpose. It shocks. But the only people that become teary eyed and overwhelmed with the need to actually do something due to this spot are those in the small group that paid for it in the first place.
  2. It’s the type of creative that puts everyone in the green marketing industry in a poor light. Advertising in the sustainable world should promote sustainability as a positive way to do business, laden with lots of benefits for consumers (beyond saving the planet), not something that reinforces tired stereotypes that work to undermine all other efforts in the minds of those watching. I mean, polar bears? Really?

If we’re ever going to make the idea of “being green” the norm in America we have to deliver messages that have the ability to actually change opinions and actions. This ad does neither.

Effective advertising ideas must answer one simple question – Will this creative idea cause change for the better? You’ll only be able to answer that question with a yes if those doing the creative understand all the peaks and valleys that exist in the sustainable world of communication.

About the Author

Larry Washington

Larry Washington is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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