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What's Really Eco About Eco Laundry Soap? Some Thoughts on Green Marketing

Posted Aug 25 2008 6:42pm

This post is part of a continuing series in which I make a wild attempt to deconstruct how marketers develop, package and advertise products in an attempt to get you to buy them. Hopefully this evens the playing field a bit.

Yesterday I wrote a review about Dropps , a new eco friendly laundry detergent.

Since there are a wide variety of so called, “natural”, “eco friendly” and “healthy” laundry detergents, one might ask several questions:

Why is this more eco?

Is this more eco than other eco laundry detergents and how?

And after 10 minutes standing in front of the various different options

Why is this all so confusing?

Well…we’ve entered a new phase in the eco product lifecycle. Eco is hot. We have organic ketchup and natural cleaners and greenwashing galore .

So, to make it a little easier for you…at least in the laundry aisle, here’s the low down on laundry detergent. If your main interest is in protecting the environment, the key is…less is more.

According to the Laundry Sustainability Project (stop giggling, there’s a project for everything), the real key to saving the environment is twofold.

…products are manufactured in a safe manner (and), taking care of the environment by more efficient use of chemicals and natural resources (eg water).

That’s it. Less packaging, less product, less use of other natural resources (water) means taking better care of the environment. Yes, recycling those big old laundry detergent bottles is important but…how about not using them at all?

This one key point for sustainable laundry is where Dropps has a huge advantage over other natural brands…but consumers aren’t really aware of its importance. AND…Dropps does nothing to educate consumers about that one key point.

…if you are really concerned about saving the’s the killer detail. Because Dropps are super concentrated, a package with enough detergent to do 20 loads weighs only 10 ozs! Compare that to Seventh Generation’s product where 20 loads uses 31 ozs of detergent…and it goes up from there for other brands.

Of course, this math and the consequences are not relatively apparent. But, if you think about it, 10 ozs uses up less packaging, uses less fuel to ship and uses less water as filler for the product. That’s a pretty big saving for the planet.

Instead of promoting their superconcentrated product, which comes in small dissolving packets as THE most eco alternative…they promote it as the most convenient…which means little to the average in home washing machine eco consumer.

Hello? Dropps you’ve got a great positioning if you want a bunch of college students to buy your product…if they can afford it!

Instead of using this little perceptual map (this is a tool marketers use to figure out why their product is better than the competition in a way that is important to consumers) to determine what message to put on the package and coming up with “…just toss and go…”

...which a consumer interprets as. " oh, this product is for those seeking convenience…"

How about using this one and coming up with one along the lines of “…little packages mean little impact” ( OK- I’m not going to write the copy...that’s just the concept). The right message is one that tells the consumer this product is for folks who REALLY want to save the planet.

Eco marketing has reached a new phase. No longer do companies need to educate the consumer on why going green is important. Now, they need to educate consumers on what being green truly means.

We’re waiting….

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