Monday, September 03, 2007

Going Green for Good or Greed?

Recently I received my complimentary copy of a new Vancouver magazine on sustainable living, called GRANVILLE It occurred to me as I leafed through the ads, and tried to find some articles of substance, that indeed the "Green Ad Revolution" has begun. First of all, you'll wonder why I got a copy and you didn't. Well, I just happen to live on the edge of Kerrisdale and Shaugnessy, two of the wealthiest areas in the Lower Mainland. So what does a magazine that caters to the wealthy look like. Well, this one kind of resembles a "Green" GQ, but instead of advertising Rolex watches and Armani suits, all of the purveyors of fine clothes, food, high end spas/resorts, and gourmet dining are cleverly incorporating the "green" word within their new re-designed logos.

Now given that Madison Avenue always smells money before the small do-gooding little organizations in any small town America or Canada, it's no wonder that Vancouver, who always likes to thumb their nose at the rest of Canada for being small town and well, just not hip, would want to capitalize on the "Green Revolution".

On a typical day in a downtown ad agency in Vancouver, if an associate gets a message to call either someone in Regina or LA, guess which one they return the call to . So in Vancouver's race to be LA North and be "cool", if they see that Madison Avenue has told Corporate America that it makes good money sense to stamp "Green" on everything, then you follow the American need for greed and start your own "Green " Magazine.

Fighting global warming has suddenly become big business., and America's addiction to celebrities, has now come together for one huge marketing machine that is now unstoppable. Forget the fear of terrorism, that's yesterday's news, and besides the defence industry has made enough money out of that. So I present to you the new buzz word and mantra on Wall Street, "Sustainability".

Given that America is now convinced that they need to be afraid of two things Terrorism and Global Warming, Madison Avenue has decided that this has created the "Perfect Storm" for a marketing windfall. Let's get back to Granville Magazine for a moment . I called the Editor, David Jordan and offered to submit a "free" article on excerpts of my book that deal with "ethics" and creating "values based" businesses, in other words creating profits with integrity. His response was interesting and surprising to say the least. "Thanks but no thanks, that's not our mandate." In other words as long as you talk about sustainable living or advertise about sustainable living you can be in the magazine.

So here's my question, if you hang a sign "We're Green" on the front door of your business establishment, does that immediately qualify you as a business I can trust to be; honest, fair to your employees, committed to improving the quality of life in your community, sympathetic to fair trade, and compassionate about the people you do business with and who buy from you. In other words a "Value Based Business". Now not only can I trust you but I can now also believe that you must have the best interest of me and the planet at heart because you paid between $1,500 to $6,000 for an ad in a magazine.

First of all if I lived in the East End of town, was on a low income, a student, homeless, or lived in Regina I'm not even going to get a comp. copy. For obvious reasons, I won't be able to buy the latest dress made out of soy for my wife for $2,500, or the latest hybrid car for $42,000, or have an organic gourmet dinner for $200 at a local fine dining eatery. How about those face treatments and massages with the finest in organic "save the planet' oils. You see where I'm going with this .

Leaving your eco-footprint is one thing, capitalizing on the latest 'Green" trend without any need for accountability for "telling the truth" perpetuates the endless parade of "get rich quick schemes that inundate the t.v. air waves between 2-4 a.m. This new upscale magazine waving the "green " flag is just another in the long line of Madison Avenue tricks to exploit your hard earned dollar. But hey, if Leonard DiCaprio says the planet needs saving, it must be so, because after all when Al Gore said it, he was just a loser politician that was trying to make a comeback.

Here's' a concept, Al Gore has been fighting to get peoples' attention on global warming since he was a young congressman with noble intentions. He never built a business around saving the planet. Remember if you combine America's addiction to celebrities and harness the power of Madison Avenue, you have hit the mother lode. The Dalai Lama has said we need to save humanity and teach compassion, one person at a time. "We must stop war, famine, and man's injustice to man." At no time did he say " Oh yes and on the subject of global warming you must capitalize on this fear, use it, go forth and make lot's of money"! And so I ask you the question, Is Going Green for Good or Greed?

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