Agenda Control

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One of advertising’s many anti-democratic aspects lies in its power as an arbitrary agenda-setter.

So, here we see Proctor & Gamble touting their efforts to use less energy in the manufacture of Charmin Ultra toilet paper.

But, ask yourself, what is the number one environmental crime inherent in manufacturing a product like Charmin Ultra?

It is not the use of electricity to run industrial facilities.  It is the use of old growth timber to make “soft” toilet paper.  Of course, why do they need to make this stuff “soft” in the first place?  So that they can justify the exaggerated marketing claims and jacked-up prices.

The “Sustainably Manufactured” tagline is, of course, pure belligerent prevarication.  Not only is the ad a conscious cover-up of the old growth facts (which P&G certainly knows would, if widely known, be lethal to the brand), but who is to say that its (alleged) slightly reduced energy use makes Charmin Ultra environmentally benign?  Anybody want to wager on what a genuine investigation would reveal there?

Anyhow, such is American culture:  Greenwashing ass-wipes on behalf of socio-cidal money-hoarding rentiers.

How to Help Plastic!

greenwash The greenwashers over at RecycleBank, a new marketing front that “rewards” its victims users by sending them more junk in exchange for swallowing corporate green shopping dogma and making tiny gestures with their old junk, are devoting a whole webpage to the topic of “how we can help plastic make a better impact.”

This tortured, whorish double-talk is of a piece with the rest of RecycleBank’s attempted assault on the public mind.

“There’s no denying that the invention and eventual widespread use of plastic was a major advance for society,” says RecycleBank, complete with a supporting weblink to “The Benefits of Plastic” on –wait for it — plasticsindustry.com!

After listing some beneficial uses of plastic, RecycleBank delivers the core proposition:

While a huge benefit of plastic is its durability, this very property is also sometimes a downside — some plastic takes centuries to break down, taking up more room in landfills for a longer time.

This, of course, is absolute malarkey.  The chief problem with plastics is not their durability, but their grossly excessive use as packaging by corporate capitalists.  Nobody denies that plastic has a place in the world.  What people are rightly concerned with is why there is so god-damned much of the stuff being heedlessly made and sold.

But that concern is exactly what greewash marketing like RecycleBank exists to massage into tame, misconceived channels.  What we need and ought to be demanding is access to the macro-economic decisions that determine when and where plastic gets used.  What we get instead from RecycleBank and its paymasters is two things:

1. the fiction that recycling could ever compensate for the consequences of those macro-level choices, over which the public remains utterly powerless; and

2. the transfer of all responsibility onto “consumers,” among whom Recycle Bank positively encourages “green guilt.”

Oh, and the sponsor of the RecycleBank plastics “awareness” mindfuck?

Naked Juice, the “healthy” plastic-bottling subsidiary of PepsiCo.

Idiot Wind

windmills protest Even among greens, wind power is almost universally accepted as a viable solution to Peak Oil.  Alas, wind power is greenwash.

Two items:

Wind Farms Over-Rated

Micro-Wind Hopeless

None of this stops energy capitalists from spreading and exploiting the shit out of the naive assumptions that rule the roost on this crucial topic.

The fact of the matter is that the laws of physics are real, and they dictate that it always costs some energy to get energy.  As explained by Kevin Phillips, wind power’s regime had its heyday in the 17th century.  It is not capable of powering the 21st, unless we get very radically small.

Greenwashing: The 95-5 Rule

Critics of big business marketing have long talked as if deception and abuse are the exceptions rather than the rule in the discipline of corporate sales-engineering. The truth, of course, is precisely the opposite, if you bother to study the corporate marketing process as a whole.

One interesting and important case of this unwitting excuse-making by critics is the continuing discussion of “greenwashing.” Most who discuss this problem continue to treat it as if it is somehow merely a cancer on the body of big business salesmanship. In reality, as any half-hour glance at television in the USA shows, “green” marketing claims are now the norm.

That’s simply logical. Marketers are constantly looking for new manipulation tactics, and race one another to invent and expand them.

What is the general quality of all the now-normal “green” marketing? For that, listen to a true exception — a publicly honest marketing practitioner. Quoted in this week’s Advertising Age is Steven Addis, CEO of branding consultantcy Addis Creson:

This month I’ve definitely seen a lot of companies that I never would have associated with green popping up. Companies are saying, ‘We need something to green ourselves up, so let’s sponsor Earth Day.’ It’s really now in this hype curve.

Addis says he has developed a general rule-of-thumb about the nature of the greenwashing problem. It’s worth quoting:

I call it the 95-5 rule. Five percent of somebody’s business is green, but 95% of their PR is green.

Example.

And another (click on “carbon neutral” button).