Jacquie Ottman's
Green marketing Blog

Jacquie Ottman's Green Marketing Blog

How To Make Waste Watching Fun, Easy — and Mainstream

Mr. Eco

With 9 billion people expected on the planet by 2025, all consumers will need to be reducing, refusing, repairing, reusing, recycling, and lots of other R’s. If your consumers are not on board the waste prevention movement, take some advice from social marketers — make it easy, fun and popular. Here’s how.

Easy Does It
Curbside pickup and reverse vending machines at the supermarket make it easy to recycle newspaper and co-mingles and …Read more...


Why Education is Key to Green Marketing Success

Given the complexities of greening, properly educating consumers can make the difference in the success of a campaign. One green marketer who learned the hard way about the need to educate is Whirlpool. In the early 1990s they won a $30 million “Golden Carrot” award that was put up by the U.S. Department of Energy and a consortium of electrical utilities for being the first to market with a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free refrigerator. But they misjudged consumer’s willingness to pay a 10% premium for …Read more...


Toyota’s Prius: Different Strokes for Different Folks

The mainstreaming of green brings with it the need to segment audiences. As marketing efforts behind the Toyota Prius demonstrate, targeting messages to specific consumer groups can broaden appeal.

When launching the Prius in 2001, Toyota opted to target not the green-leaning drivers one might expect, but rather tech-savvy “early adopter” consumers. Featuring a beauty shot of a shiny new car parked at a stop light and illustrated by the provocative headline, “Ever heard the sound a stoplight makes?” an introductory print ad …Read more...


Ideals on Wheels

Bicycle Rental ProgramIn many cities bicyclists battle it out with taxis for a share of the road. But all Parisians seem to agree that bicycles are a convenient, cheap, trendy, and emission-free way for locals and tourists to get around town. Representing the biking equivalent of car sharing, in 2007 the city of Paris launched Vélib, a pay-as-you-go bicycle rental program.

Bikes can be rented for pre-paid amounts of time ranging from 30 minutes to one week, and then dropped off …Read more...


Running On Human Power

While researchers are looking to the sun, the wind and even ocean tides to source renewable energy, some have found an answer much closer to home: the gym.  This notion dawned on the owner of a string of gyms in Hong Kong, who rigged cycling and cross-training machines to power a gym’s lights and store extra energy in batteries for later use.

The Human Power Trainer, made by Windstream Power LLC of North Ferrisburg, Vermont, works on the same concept. It mounts a …Read more...


Two Birds, One Switch? Brightening The Future With A Dark Idea

This is a guest blog post by Catie Carter.

"Lights Out New York" Press Release Picture

     For two months this fall, many of the cities largest buildings, including the Chrysler building, and Rockefeller Center, are turning their lights off. New York City Audubon has organized the fifth annual “Lights Out New York” in an effort to help migratory birds. Buildings participating in “Lights out New York” have agreed to turn their lights off from midnight to dawn from September 1st to November 1st.



How We Used “Framing” to Sell the Wind

This is a guest blog post written by Cathy L. Hartman & Edwin R. Stafford.

Introducing “Framing”
By aligning marketing strategies with the core values of your audience, you can successfully craft a message that resonates with a targeted public, and increase your campaign’s chances for success. This is called “framing” and it’s well illustrated in the following two case studies.

Case Study:  Utah & ‘The Winds of Opportunity’
In 2003, we collaborated with the Utah Wind Working …Read more...


40 Million Kilowatts in 40 Days

Jenn Dolin, our old friend and client who’s now at Sylvania, invites you to take the Sylvania Earth Day Challenge. Representing a great way to get consumers involved in energy efficiency, Osram-Sylvania is challeging consumers to take energy-efficient actions at home and at work, that, in the 40 days leading up to Earth Day, will add up to 40 million kilowatt hours of energy savings.

Just visit their website, populated with easy, energy-efficiency actions for the home and office. Select the steps you’ll willing to do for 40 days, and …Read more...


Smart-Grid Enabled Appliances will help U.S. Green Marketers Compete in the Global Clean Energy Race

The global clean energy race has begun and the powerhouse economies of Asia-China, Japan and South Korea -are already proving to be key challengers. Although the United States and E.P.A. have made great strides, the Obama administration has yet to take firm action in the form a comprehensive clean energy bill, forcing conscientious businesses and consumers to carry the baton for the U.S.

On the green marketing front, the future of energy consumption in the United States lies in ‘Smart-Grid Enabled Appliances’. Invested players including government, and product and software …Read more...


When it Comes to Marketing Green Appliances, Silence is Golden

Ads for Bosch’s super quiet, high performance appliances make a point about doing green marketing right loud and clear: focus on the benefits most relevant to consumers.

As I discuss at more length in my soon-to-be-published book, “Consumers buy products to meet basic needs, not (primarily) to save the planet.” Said another way, consumers walk into the store with their, well, consumer caps on, not citizen ones.

Commercials for Bosch’s super-energy efficient appliances focus on how quiet they are, with secondary emphasis on their environmentally preferable attributes. In one ad …Read more...


Apples Versus Oranges: To Compare or Not?

I received an email this morning from a frantic manufacturer of laptops: "We need to finalize a green marketing claim for an ad we're preparing. Our laptops use less energy than desktop computers. Should we make the claim? Help! We don't want to be accused of greenwash!" (Note: Company name not included and category has been changed for confidentiality - but you'll get my points!)

On the surface a comparative green marketing claim such as this one looks pretty innocuous. However, dig a little deeper and you find some issues.


Play Ball with a Polluter—or Not?

ExxonMobil is coming around to the fact that a green reputation is necessary to compete. Among other steps, they are investing in their R3M technology to remotely detect oil and gas and reduce drilling. From a marketing perspective, they are running an extensive campaign in major dailies and newsweeklies, and among other things, are sponsoring the Washington Nationals’ LEED-certified baseball park.

But not everyone is so comfortable with Exxon’s green marketing efforts. Sponsorship of the baseball park is drawing flack from environmental activists, who are pressing the Nationals to …Read more...


Before They Buy, Consumers Have to “Buy It”

Back in December 2004, HSBC became the first major bank to commit to carbon neutrality, aiming to improve energy efficiency, buy "green electricity," and then offset the remaining carbon dioxide emissions using carbon "allowance" or "credits." As a global bank with numerous offices and branches gobbling up significant amounts of fossil fuel-generated energy, HSBC made a smart strategic move by committing to carbon management. And the scope of that commitment, paired with the strong business case for action, gave HSBC the credibility it needed to deliver an effective sustainability-focused marketing …Read more...


CFLs: It Takes a Team to Market a Lightbulb

CFLs have become the quintessential example of a mainstream green product. As proof, as of October of 2007, Wal-Mart announced that it had surpassed its goal of selling 100 million CFLs by the end of 2007, three months ahead of time.  However, this accomplishment was not so easily attained.  The current success of CFLs is due to the innovation and commitment of a virtual “village” of manufacturers, designers, and marketers.

Remember those early CFLs?  Too many consumers were reluctant to pay $15 versus 75 cents for an incandescent, despite …Read more...


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