It's not easy being green


American consumers may be accused of being jaded, or perhaps they have learned over many, many years to take whatever they hear in advertisements with a very large helping of salt. For example, in the case of products or services marketed as being "green," consumers might not disagree that "green" is the ultimate goal of the marketing campaign, but they would be thinking of green in terms of dollars, not the beneficial environmental effects the campaign is striving to promote.

This cynical result was turned up by researcher Ipsos Reid, which found that 70% of Americans believe that green is more a marketing tactic than it is a genuine attempt to be environmentally friendly. That number is comprised of those who hold the belief either strongly or somewhat. On the flip side, only 4% strongly believe that the green efforts are completely altruistic efforts to save the environment.

The survey respondents appear to have much in common with the marketers they disparage, however. Only 10% of Americans would be willing to ante up more cash for green building supplies. 46% would consider it, at least, giving the strong/wishy-washy greens in the country a plurality over the 44% who would either be unlikely to pay more or who would flat out refuse to pay more for environmentally-sound building products.

RBR/TVBR observation: In certain categories, a 10% share of the market might be a very good thing, and if going green provides that kind of edge, then go for it. And over half the country is at least mildly receptive to green promotional arguments. In general, it would appear that special care must be taking with such marketing messages to make sure the sincerity of the advertiser is strong enough to cut though America’s natural in-born skepticism.