Advertising is the single most profitable industry there is in America, and marketing companies go to great lengths to find ways of taking consumer’s desires and then turn them into commodities. Sex appeal is often used to make a product seem like it will up the anti in your romantic life if you just buy that new Axe aerosol spray for men, or buy that corvette with the woman in a bikini squirming around on top of it. Many of these products aren’t even sustainably manufactured, are harmful to the environment, and generally end up creating more waste in the world. A new trend budding in the marketing industry today is this fresh new popularity in Green Advertising through products and services.
Ecomagination Just Called Shot Gun
More and more people are waking up to the need for everyone to pay attention to how their consuming habits effect the environment around them. One company out there is beginning to pave a new way for a more user-friendly method of fueling your electric or hybrid cars; that company is General Electric, (GE). In their ad for new public electric charging stations they are developing, GE is using the slogan, “Ecomagination just called shot gun” and continues on to say
“While the world’s been waiting for the electric car, maybe the whole time, the electric car has been waiting for this. The WattStation™ from GE enables charging for electric vehicles, and is going to change the way we all get to where we want to go. Ecomagination, it’s technology that makes the world work.”
GE’s ad leans toward the pathos side of the Art of Rhetoric while posing the question, is this green revolution really taking the front seat, and exactly how is GE contributing to the shift from fossil fuels to more renewable forms of energy?
GE is targeting those that own electric or hybrid vehicles, or other consumers that are interested in Green products and services. This particular ad that I found was in Wired magazine, which is a publication that caters to those who are interested in the funny, unique and cutting edge in science, internet, and other technologies; as well other things I can only call, random… On their website I have found that they reach an audience of 3.2 million, 72% male, 28% female, 82% graduated or at least attended college, with a median house hold income of $87,973/yr and a median personal income of $50,696/yr. This information tells me that the ad will be viewed by readers who are especially interested in new technology, and have the financial means to own something like an electric or hybrid vehicle, and therefore makes Wired a likely place for interested consumers to stumble upon GE’s new product that is under development.
Green Claims Make Bold Statements…But Are They Genuine?
GE’s ad is making a claim that states this greener energy source, electricity over fossil fuel, is taking the front seat in the mainstream and that petroleum from oil is taking the back. I do believe it is a step in the right direction. There is no time like now, and it is better to prepare ahead of time before any kind of disaster hits. We all know that with the state of the world today with global warming, all the depleted resources as well as loss of biodiversity across the globe, more companies and individuals need to take initiative to make a greener life the norm and not just a trend. Eventually we are going to run out of oil here in America, it is a finite resource in a capitalist economy that depends on an infinite market. Eventually we will have to learn how to rely on alternatives.
I believe having public charging stations scattered about every city would be a great solution and would increase demand for electric vehicles. The WattStation™ is an expression of logic. It appeals to those who foresee a hopeful and sustainable future, and what’s not logical about being sustainable? Well there is a bit of a difference between “better for the environment than some” and “sustainable”. Though an electric car is greener than one that runs on fossil fuels, many studies have shown that though electric and hybrid cars are more environmentally efficient to operate, they are more hazardous to manufacture than the normal average car. Therefore, even though it may seem more logical to buy an electric car, one has to think about the vehicle’s effects on the environment through its whole life cycle, from production to the time when it becomes no longer functional. One would have to compare the amount of carbon emissions from reducing use of fossil fuels, with the difference of the emissions caused during the manufacture, and see if the reduction outweighs that of production. Even though the ad displays GE’s logo on green letters, its logic hasn’t fully been proven yet. Sure, GE may just be the middle man providing the energy source, but this doesn’t mean that the means in which its service is used is the most sustainable option.
The ad makes you feel like you have been waiting for this charging station all along, and now it’s here, instilling excitement that it has finally arrived. If you don’t own an electric vehicle already you’ll probably feel like getting one after seeing this ad. It gets you excited that there is an alternative out there, and that the WattStation™ could change the way we fuel our cars, just like we’ve been hoping for the last several years. The creators of the ad are a little ambiguous though and keep you curious so that you have to go out of your way to do a little research to find out more about the product. The ad only gives you just enough information to get you excited but they don’t offer that many details. The photo shows a Chevy Volt automobile parallel parked along a curb across the street from a large building with glass windows. Next to the car on the sidewalk sits a WattStation™ that is available for use. I gathered that this image was implying that these charging stations will eventually be available openly in public places across the country, but there are not details specifying where you will be able to find and use these things. I had to go to the GE website and watch a video here, http://www.ge.com/innovation/electric_vehicles/index.html, I watched a one minute and thirty second video that gave a bit more information that shows the charging station available next to public parking spaces and in front of business establishments, but again, they didn’t specify when we could expect to see the WattStation™ out and available for public use.
In the long run, ads for Green products such as the WattStation™ can easily lure you in by using simple green-washing terms like “green, eco-friendly, sustainable, environmentally safe, all natural,” but one should remain vigilant and critical in their approach to understanding what it is that the ad is really trying to say. It’s always good to do a bit of research before you settle on a product. Advertising companies aren’t always thinking about honesty, they’re thinking, “how can I make this seem the most attractive to a consumer to get them to buy into the image of this product,” when products and services really shouldn’t be about image at all. Marketing companies try to make buying the product seem logical by showing you how it will make you look more like that person you are trying to be, instead of being useful to the person you already are, while following the current trends to make it seem fresh and “hip”. In the end though, I do believe greener is better in whatever way any eco-friendly product is making a difference. It’s always a step in the right direction.
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