Can you spell “marketing hype”? I knew you could!
While it’s true there are uber-important issues about ecology that affect every living thing on the planet, being green doesn’t necessarily mean “the best” or even “good”.
What marketing departments scoup up is any word or term they can use to sell things. You know: New, improved, top, #1, best seller, doctor recommended. The word “green” has entered marketing vocabulary.
But “green” is a simplification — and that’s exactly the way marketing departments want it. They don’t want you to question what “all new” or “best quality” or “green” mean — they want you to … buy something!
As an example? Fresh, pure water is good, right? That’s what you want out of your kitchen faucet and in your bottled water. So fresh water is green? Uh, no. Fresh water is a contaminant to plants and animals that depend on salt water. There are many places in the world where humans dump fresh water into the ocean … and kill things.
And that’s hardly the only example. Another example is laundry detergents that are fine if you live near the coast, but awful if you live inland.
Of course, marketing departments don’t want to address this. They don’t need you to think. They need you to buy.
So what makes something green? Generally, it’s some slant that a company has figured out that makes their product look good. And in many cases, their bragging is quite right! Better gas mileage is a good thing! Removing chemicals that cause cancer from your home is a very good thing!
But recognizing that marketing departments are willing to deceive you, you have to draw a line. Is it really important that something that you use in tiny quantities is biodegradable? Is it really critical that shoe laces are green? I answered a question awhile back, where the person wanted to know which sticky tape products were biodegradable! Really … who cares? Marketing departments are deflecting attention from things that are really important … to selling products. That person who was trying to improve their sticky tape usage could make a LOT more environmental impact by eating a couple less hamburgers in a month. By keeping the tires on their car properly inflated.
So “green” may indicate good thinking and goodwill on the part of a company. But it might mean nothing much more than: New, improved, patented technology to make your clothes whiter and brighter! That is to say, “green” is sometimes not anything more than a marketing buzzword. The company may not even have changed their product, they’re just advertising it differently!
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