The New York Times‘ Small Business Summit Center had this interesting quote last week from E.B. Moss, owner of Moss Appeal/Moss Appeal Green in New York City. She created Moss Appeal in 2001 and Moss Appeal Green in 2006. The Times asked: Can green marketing retain its effectiveness into 2008, as some people get fatigued with environmental issues?

Moss: When I worked in radio, the station played in the background all day long and the staff would complain about ads that they were hearing over and over again–that car ad again, and that department store ad again, and etc. We had to remember that just about when we tired of hearing the ad is about when it would be sinking in to the average listener. And that was when it would be time to freshen the campaign or take the message to the next level.

For those of us who are more in tune with green messaging, it is easy to feel “eco-centric” and believe the word is out and is being heard. We are likely the ones who have been consuming the media where that message is most prevalent from The NY Times to Sundance Channel, Treehugger to An Inconvenient Truth. But I would probably rephrase the question from how green marketing can “retain its effectiveness” to “how can green marketing sink in to a wider audience in 2008?” Again, the key is to freshen the campaign and take the message to the next level.

When the environment is studied as a matter of course in all elementary schools, instead of just discussed on Arbor Day; when more employers require their staffs to recycle or save energy, instead of rewarding it as a novelty; when we all understand that oranges are not native to New York (yet!) and consider the carbon it takes to ship them in, then the message may have sunk in. However, as marketers we can certainly work to make the messaging more entertaining and engaging, and effective. One place where the message can be taken to the next level will be in promoting standards of excellence in environmentalism from LEED certified buildings to Cradle to Cradle(tm). As those and other seals gain more awareness and clout, consumers will look more to support certified companies.

I’m a bit surprised by the question. Is it a given that some people will get fatigued with environmental issues? I like the answer, though.

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.