Practicing Sustainability In Advertising

Here at Antler, sustainability, energy efficiency or being “green” (whatever you like to call it) are issues that all of us take pretty seriously. Which is why I was pleased to notice somewhat of a resurgence of greenvertising: ads which, in their very essence, do something good for the planet–or at least reduce their impact upon it.

As brands become more accustomed to listening to their consumers (upwards of 50% of consumers consider sustainability when picking brands), I expect to see a greater pressure on agencies to think about the impact that ads have on the environment. Here are a few examples of companies that are at least keeping up appearances when it comes to taking an eco-friendly approach to advertising.


eco friendly ad

Last month Tropicana shared their message of Natural Energy in a very literal way; using the product’s very ingredients to provide the electricity for the billboard containing their advertisement. By filling perspex boxes with hundreds of oranges, along with copper and zinc spikes to harness the electrochemicals inside the oranges, the acid of the fruit was able to generate enough electricity to light up the ad. Of course there are plenty of opportunities to work alternative energy sources into ad campaigns, but Tropicana did an especially great job of incorporating their product into their green (or should I say orange) message.


Next up is the WWF who claim they have created the world’s greenest leaflet campaign. The idea is simple, the WWF (a conservation organization) wanted to use the smallest quantity of paper resources to let people know that 1% of an individual’s taxes could be donated to their organization. Armed with a single leaflet, two volunteers positioned themselves at the top and bottom of an escalator in a local mall to ensure the real-time, human-recycling of their flyer. WWF were able to stretch their resources even further thanks to the power of the web and footage of their stunt. Way to stay efficient guys.


coke ad with plants

Coca Cola has gone a step further than all of the aforementioned campaigns by creating a billboard which actually helps the planet rather than just reducing the environmental impact of the ad. In collaboration with the WWF they recently unveiled a giant billboard covered in Fukien plans, which absorb air pollution. The ad also makes use of recyclable materials: A total of 3,600 plant pots were created using recycled material from various Coca-Cola products. Given Pepsi’s recent move to switch to bottle’s made 100% from plant waste, I’m sure Coke is feeling the pressure to step up their green-game.

Now, although the more cynical of you will be crying ‘green-washing” right about now, I think it’s encouraging to see brands thinking about the environmental impact their ads are having, even if they are not quite ready to address the ecological impact of their products. As an industry we should all be taking responsibility and thinking about integrating sustainable advertising mediums where possible. After all, every little effort counts!

Have you created or seen any other environmentally friendly ad campaigns? Where do you weigh-in on the greenvertsing debate? Don’t be shy we want to hear from you.

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