Friday, September 25, 2009

Marketing the Green Stuff

Okay. It's huge. The environmental movement comes into its own at last. Everything is green, except when it isn't. A case study is called for, this one's Kaiser Permanente's "Thrive" campaign. From Kaiser:

‘Emerald Cities,’ is a 30-second spot that conveys how Kaiser Permanente's use of advanced technology benefits Kaiser Permanente's health care delivery system by saving lives, managing chronic conditions and making medical breakthroughs. The ad also communicates Kaiser Permanente's focus on sustainability - by using electronic health records the amount of paper used within the organization is drastically decreased - saving thousands of trees annually. To date, Kaiser Permanente members have completed 6 million doctor's visits without using one gallon of gasoline. Simply put in the spot's opening line: "By putting an end to paper medical records, we have ushered health into the digital age."

The video is here, it runs to the tune of "Clair De Lune" by Debussy, who wrote it with Paul Verlaine's poem in mind.

This campaign is brilliantly produced by the very capable firm of Campbell-Ewald Advertising, which is no stranger to controversy in its manipulation of image content and product marketing.

The sub-genre created in reaction to this campaign as well as Kaiser's well-known control of services and products, and its arbitration clause that its policies are built on shows how public reaction can be carried out in counter-moves in the press and online. What's fascinating is the imagery used by Campbell-Ewald to create the "soft-touch hi-tech green" imagery in a perfect world of health and service to its members. Which of course it limits to protect its profits. Public health option, anyone?

But the bait. It's so pastoral, even Bambi is in there. Our global environment reduced to a marketing gimmick? It's just about on life support right now, so maybe it's appropriate that the metaphor works both ways.

Clair De Lune, indeed.