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Posts Tagged ‘environmental concerns’

Harley Davidson: When Eco PR Just Doesn’t Fit

Electric Harley

Wouldn’t a plug-in version of this be considered a kids’ toy?

It is no secret that the world needs protection from its inhabitants. What with all the alerts about our ozone being ravaged by coal, smog, pollution, and all that hair spray they put in the Kardashians’ wigs, it’s a miracle we can even breathe.

That’s why “Green” or “Eco” (for ecology, just in case) PR is a big thing now. Appliances use less electricity; even light bulbs have gone the way of the HDTV. And yet, impressive as Tesla’s electric cars may sometimes be, they’re still up against oil lobbyists and those Koch guys.

And now, entering into the fray: Harley-Davidson!

Wait, what?!

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Coal Rep’s Climate Change Spin Sparks PR Ethics Debate

How does a PR rep handle the conflict inherent in representing The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports, an organization created to increase coal exportation in the northwest US, with a history working for the EPA? The two organizations could not be more ideologically opposed to one another.

In this extremely off-the-record clip, Edelman VP Lauri Hennessey tells coal industry marketers how she navigates around the issue by using her EPA past to convince environmentally concerned audiences that more coal exports would not contribute to climate change. A couple of things are clear:


The clip may be a hit piece, but it’s also a revealing look into the way spin works in one particular case.

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Public Grows More Skeptical of Brands’ ‘Green’ Claims

If you think it, then it might as well be true.

The big takeaway from the latest “Green Gauge” survey from global research company GfK shouldn’t surprise you: consumers are growing more and more skeptical of brands’ green claims.

The depth of the public’s confusion and distrust, however, is worth noting:

  • 22% of consumers aren’t sure about the accuracy of environmental claims made by brands (that’s a 200% increase over the past five years)
  • 10% don’t know how well companies carry out their “environmental responsibilities” (a 300% increase over the same time period)
We feel like these numbers are too low, because 100% of consumers should be “unsure” of environmental claims made in ad and marketing content. (You can blame our cynicism and our experience in marketing and PR.)

Maybe these consumers are just afraid to admit how little they know.

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How Is IBM America’s ‘Greenest Company?’

After reading The New York Times expose about the incredible amounts of energy wasted in the data centers of “environmentally friendly” Internet juggernauts like Facebook and Google, we have to admit we’re a little surprised to learn that tech brands dominate Newsweek’s list of the “greenest” companies in America year after year.

This year, in fact, IBM and Hewlett-Packard retained the top two spots, followed by Sprint Nextel and Dell. We had to check our calendars: Is it 2012 or 1997?

How did IBM achieve its somewhat enviable position atop the green heap? We won’t get into Newsweek’s extensive methodology, but the report notes two particular projects: The Smarter Planet initiative helps IBM clients analyze their consumption of resources in order to make for more environmentally efficient businesses, but we’re more interested in the company’s Zurich Research Laboratory.

In 2008, the Swiss techies pioneered a “zero carbon emission data center” that works by redirecting the massive amounts of waste heat generated by all those buzzing hard drives and using it to regulate the temperatures of buildings and create a “municipal heating network”. Most importantly, the system uses the heat to more efficiently cool the chips themselves–so IBM truly recycles its own energy.

OK, that’s pretty cool.

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