J500 Media and the Environment

Which Came First: the Green Works or the Green Mom? by lizhawks
October 17, 2008, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Business + Politics | Tags: , ,

Does a “Green Approved” stamp on a household product make it more attractive to the general mom consumer population? Can established household and baby brands actually encourage moms to go green with them?

Did you know that Burt’s Bees (likely a favorite organic brand of many) is owned by Clorox? Yes, I’m talking about the same Clorox that pumps bleach into our water system. (The bleach that Clorox claims is sustainable.) Clorox purchased Burt’s Bees at the end of 2007 for nearly $1 billion (yes, with a “b”) because, according to the New York Times, “Big companies see big opportunities in the market for green products…Analysts say there is far more growth to be had by it and its competitors as consumers keep gravitating toward products that promise organic and environmental benefits.”

As consumers start to climb on the green bandwagon, companies like Clorox see a cash cow ready for the tapping. So, could it be that mom consumer behaviors are actually spurring household and baby products to go green? After all, moms are sharing ideas for throwing green baby showers – they need green gifts to give! But, can the egg come before the chicken? If more and more household and baby brands with some degree of established brand equity offer green products to moms (Huggies, are you listening?), will more moms decide choose “green” over those “other” colors?

Business Wire)
Actress/mom Jennie Garth has designed an organic tote for Green Works. Do moms care? Clorox thinks so. (Photo: Business Wire)


-Liz Hawks


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Liz, I did not know that Burt’s Bees (yes! one of my favorites!) is owned by Clorox. I guess this partially answers my questions about whether making up for green sins pays off. I’m sure it is paying off for Clorox. But in this case, I’m not sure there’s a lot of transparency. Like I said in my post, consumers are getting savvier and sooner or later, we’ll find the truth about which companies are really green.

Comment by angelikeg

Angelike, You are right about the “paying off.” In this case it looks like salvation comes in the form of dollar signs. I like your comment about transparency as well. We didn’t know Burt’s Bees was Clorox-owned because Clorox didn’t stamp its brand on Burt’s Bees. Interesting choice, huh? If they had added a Clorox logo to Burt’s Bees products, would its consumer base still purchase it? Seems like there would be some kind of cognitive disconnect for the purchaser. I think time will tell if Clorox’s green efforts will change consumer perception — and if some of that perception shift will happen because Clorox does more to proactively communicate its “greenness” in ways that consumers see as authentic.

Comment by lizhawks

Terrific dialog. You are spot on, Liz. It’s telling that BB mentions Clorox in their Corporate Social Responsibility report but not (on quick perusal) on their website. I suspect they know they have to engage in transparency with those who would dig in deep enough to read a CSR report but not necessarily with those just buying lip balm.

Comment by j500

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