Be More Transparent in Your Green Marketing Claims

  • Oct 26, 2012

Green Marketing 101: Be Honest in Your Green Advertising

Is Your Green Marketing Message Misleading?

Austin, Texas: After spending the past few weeks speaking and blogging about the new FTC Green Guidelines, I was shocked to see one of my top customers making misleading claims.

They were sponsoring an activity at a large outdoor festival and promoting an imprinted T-shirt that had just 5% recycled materials –with the headline: Get a Free Recycled T-Shirt when Stopping by their Booth.

This was from a client that knows better and I took her to task.

5% recycled does not make a shirt a “Recycled Shirt!”

Truth in advertising would state: Get a Free T-Shirt made of 5% Recycled Material.

or, at least: Get a Free Partially Recycled T-Shirt (up to 5% Recycled).

Any misleading claims, whether done on purpose or in innocence, waters down the effectiveness of green marketing.

False claims can get you in trouble with the FTC.

It is better to err on the safe side than to make green claims in your marketing that cannot be backed up.

Talk to your promotional products vendor and find out the recycled percentage. If they are a green professional, they should know this information and present it to you.

Ignorance of the law is not innocence– as my law school friends used to tell me whenever I feigned a lack of knowledge about something.

Start using qualifiers (like “partially recycled”) and state the exact percentage of recycled material that goes into a product.

Don’t let a claim that cannot be backed up ruin your overall marketing or advertising claims.

With the growth of social media, people love to nitpick and call out marketers for a number of reasons–poor service, misleading claims, slow delivery, etc.

Don’t let people play GOTCHA with you.

Be straightforward in your green marketing claims- and stay on the good side of the FTC — and your customers.

A little prudence goes a long way.

Here’s to a greener tomorrow, today.