These days there is not a whole lot of sustainable news coming out of the Television Press Tour in Pasadena, California , but one bright spot is CBS. The network is putting its stamp, literally, on their eco-friendly advertisers.
Viewers will see the digital watermark "EcoAd" on commercials aired by companies that signed on to this "sustainable media" added value package, starting with Chevrolet, Safeway, PG&E, Sunpower, Boston Scientific, O Organics and the Port of Long Beach. A portion of the ad dollars is earmarked to fund solar panel installation, energy efficient school retrofitting, and lots of other local and national environmental and clean energy projects.
Nine months ago, CBS purchased EcoMedia, the driving force behind this advertising initiative. EcoMedia founder Paul Polizzotto cooked up the plan to use ad market dollars to fund eco projects. Now partnered with CBS, the EcoAd advertising opportunity is open to all platforms: network, local, television, radio, outdoor and online. "When an ad features the leaf, it sends a powerful message to viewers that the brand is committed to both the environment and the communities they serve," Polizzotto said in an interview.
Some eco critics are calling this CBS move "greenwash." They complain there is not enough oversight on the companies that might be an "egregious polluter or spends tons of cash lobbying against environmental laws and regulations."
Yet one environmental hero, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., offers his thumbs up: "EcoMedia's EcoAd program has been one of the best ideas I have encountered to conserve and protect our natural resources. Cities get much needed funds, communities get cleaner water, air and green spaces, and corporations can put their resources to work for the betterment of society."
At the EcoAds launch event in NYC, former New York Governor George Pataki added, "In the past, people looked at advertising as neutral. Now it can be active, and help create jobs."
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. argued, "The reason we're protecting nature is not so much for the fishes and the birds, but because it's our environmental infrastructure." Kennedy called environmental damage "deficit spending," and said renewable energy can compete "head to head" with fossil fuels, especially if you consider the externalities to society.
Check out this brief introduction of EcoAds narrated by Laurence Fishburne:
Paul Polizzotto, founder of EcoMedia, explains how EcoAds work:
NYC reporting by Brian Clark Howard
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