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Green Marketing 'Broke Through' in 2008—What's Next?

by Jacquelyn A. Ottman  |  
January 27, 2009

Wall Street had a stormy 2008, but there is a silver lining: Industry leaders are now turning to all things "eco" as a new source of (genuine?) green.

Here are the top five green marketing stories from a volatile year—and what they may mean for your business in 2009.

1. Advertising Goes Green and Gets Noticed

The Story: Despite budget cuts across the board, cause-related marketing still enjoyed 3% growth in 2008, and now represents one in nine dollars spent on sponsorships. Wal-Mart, GE, and HSBC won the first-ever Green Effie awards, while other companies like Innocent Smoothies, Cotton USA, and Fiat and EasyJet got accused of making false green marketing claims.

With eco-savvy shoppers on the prowl for truly environmentally sound companies and products, a new site—Greenwashing Index—allows consumers to rate companies' green ad claims.

The Spin: Green marketing campaigns are proving to be a good investment, but they had better hold up under public scrutiny, because consumers also wise up to "greenwashing."

The prospect of free PR from Green Effies and other awards that are popping up will make green an easier sale for marketing departments.

2. Federal Trade Commission Updates Green Marketing Guidelines

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Jacquelyn A. Ottman is president of J. Ottman Consulting, Inc., advisers to industry on green marketing and eco-innovation. She is the author of Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation. Contact her via (

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  • by Craig Tue Jan 27, 2009 via web

    Bottled Water.

    One thing that gets missed every time in this argument about the impact of water is that it is better for you than soft drinks - no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no caffeine, not acidic etc. For the consumer, like me, wanting something safe and convenient when they do not have access to water at home or the office the choice used to be what soft drink do I choose. Now, at least they can get healthy water. Soft drinks are mainly water, and they have a massive distribution cost and other environmental impacts as well as community health issues but they don't seem to get the same negative press regarding green issues - not sure why?

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