Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sustainability Advertising Part Two

One of the things that we try to do here at Creative Wonders is put ourselves in the mindset of the average consumer.

The average person would choose sustainable products and services over their regular choices given the opportunity. They would.

But convenience and price play a big factor.

Money is tight. People are busy. Discovering other options takes work.

But the average consumer is not completely in the dark.

Most people go around with a residual amount of guilt for using non-recycled paper and chemical cleaners and buying from Wal-Mart. It isn’t like they don’t care, it is just that it is easier, and less painful, to block out the long-term consequences than to drive around town to fill out a shopping list.

People are not malicious or capricious in doing so, they are just trying to make ends meet and get things done.

Although it is ultimately the responsibility of the consumer to set a sustainable pattern of consumption in motion – the reality is that we live in a world where we have been coddled to by comfortable and reliable brands for a hundred years. And we are not about to sacrifice comfort for discomfort. (I’m talking about the average consumer here) Because in the end, ideology takes a second seat to survival and survival can be exhausting when you have mouths to feed, insurance to pay, a mortgage to appease, teeth to fill and debts to quench.

That said, the onus of setting a sustainable pattern falls into the lap of the media (as the Sophisticated Briton may attest if he pulls himself away from the ABBA soaps), but the media has already done a lot, so this puts the burden onto the shoulders of the makers of the products.

Give us food that tastes good, clothes that look cool, energy saving solutions that save us money, and give it to us quickly, effortlessly and with flair. This is what the average consumer demands from sustainability. And by gosh, they shall get it.

It will just take a little time, hype and hustle for people to catch on to the options available.

And that’s where we come in…


At 3:04 p.m., Blogger molesworth said...

I know it's considered gauche to talk about money, but let's look at some numbers here.

I have five mouths to feed, so shop at Superstore. (I'm not ashamed of purple boxes!) Every week I look at the wholewheat pasta for $2 a pack and know I should be buying it. But every week, I reach for the 99c pack instead. As it is, we spend a thousand bucks a month on groceries. You think we can afford to spend twice that?

At the other end of the spectrum, how do I justify paying $8,000 more for a hybrid car (versus a regular one), when it will save about $800 a year in gas? Even that saving is based on 20,000 km a year, and we probably drive half that. (By contrast, our high-efficiency furnace paid for itself in just two years.) Advertising and media coverage are all very well, but sustainable choices must make economic sense. At least make the premium for sustainable living within reach of the alternative.

As for driving round a dozen shops to fill my family's needs, sounds a bit polluting to me. The sooner they start selling alcohol in supermarkets, the better.


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