Posted October 8, 2010 3:09 am by with 1 comment

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Everyone knows green is good and I’m not just talking about the kind you stuff in your wallet. Green is a marketing buzzword that tells your customers that you’re hip, you’re concerned and you’re doing something about it.

Now before you start typing “eco-friendly” on your weekly newsletter, you better take a look at the new guidelines proposed by the FTC.

The Federal Trade Commission is concerned that agencies aren’t taking this environmental stuff seriously so they’re cracking the whip.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz had this to say:

“In recent years, businesses have increasingly used ‘green’ marketing to capture consumers’ attention. But what companies think green claims mean and what consumers really understand are sometimes two different things.”

So what he’s saying here is that consumers sometimes misinterpret what advertising claims mean and sometimes advertisers exaggerate their claims. Really? I’m shocked. Rocked to the core. If my detergent says it’s “environmentally friendly” then I expect it to be friendly with the environment!

It seems that the last time the “Green Guide” was updated was in 1998, so I imagine things have changed a little since then. Just ask BP.

Going forward, companies will have to have “competent and reliable scientific evidence” to back up their claims. In other words, they have to tell the truth.

You can read more about proposed changes at the FTC website.

  • I think its smart of the FTC to be monitoring the utilization of this term. In a sense, talk is cheap when it comes to advertising. Like you mentioned Cynthia, anyone can say they’re green. I actually interned at the Nature Conservancy when I was in college and saw that they meant business when they released marketing materials saying they have made a difference. I worked in the Marketing Partnerships department, so the Nature Conservancy was always trying to find ways to seek out companies that wanted to engage in “green marketing.” I think its definitely a matter of doing a checks and balances of if your green marketing is considered green enough.