« Back to Home Page

Green Marketing Done Right: Burt’s Bees New Campaign

Shannon Arvizu | Thursday February 14th, 2008 | 5 Comments

logo-burts-bees.jpgWhat does “natural” mean anymore in the world of personal care products? According to a recent article on Fox Business, natural body care products are growing five times faster than conventional products. Without any regulatory body to certify what “natural” means, however, many consumers unwittingly buy products with ingredients they wish to avoid. So how does a company that is committed to using non-toxic ingredients differentiate itself from the phonies? Burt’s Bees is launching a new campaign this month that aims to do just that. Ecopreneurist called the strategy, “Attack the Ingredient, Not the Brand.”
“How do you get all the soft without the suspicious?” asks the Burt’s Bees ad in my Yoga Journal that arrived a few days ago. The ad depicts a tasteful picture of a woman’s naked body against a green nature background. The text superimposed on her skin reads, “Milk & Honey Vs. DMDM Hydantoin.” Under this heading, the benefits of milk and honey (“trusted ingredients that nourish and moisturize skin naturally”) are contrasted with the consequences of DMDM Hydantoin (“a chemical preservative linked to skin irritation” “can release formaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen”). The tag line at the end says, “Have you read your body lotion label lately?”


“How do you get all the soft without the suspicious?” asks the Burt’s Bees ad in my Yoga Journal that arrived a few days ago. The ad depicts a tasteful picture of a woman’s naked body against a green nature background. The text superimposed on her skin reads, “Milk & Honey Vs. DMDM Hydantoin.” Under this heading, the benefits of milk and honey (“trusted ingredients that nourish and moisturize skin naturally”) are contrasted with the consequences of DMDM Hydantoin (“a chemical preservative linked to skin irritation” “can release formaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen”). The tag line at the end says, “Have you read your body lotion label lately?”
Burt’s Bees is doing green marketing right. As we know, most conscious consumers are primarily concerned about health first, environmental impact second. Educating the public with a simple and direct approach about the health benefits of a product can go a long way. Of course, Burt’s Bees is concerned about the environmental impact of their product. Most of their packaging is made from recycled products. But by emphasizing the direct positive benefits to the consumer (rather than the secondary benefits to the environment), I think Burt’s Bees is making a smart move.

burts-bees-ad.jpg

As a leading brand in the natural personal care industry, Burt’s Bees has also been instrumental in creating a national standard and product seal that will launch later this year. They are working with the Natural Products Association to “educate consumers on what constitutes a truly natural product and how to ascertain that information.”
Being a Triple P business means more than just creating and providing a sustainably produced good/service. It also means serving as an educator to the public and as a change-maker in the field of regulation. Ultimately, effective leading in your industry in this way enhances more than just the bottom line. It creates the wide-scale change that we’re all talking about.


▼▼▼      5 Comments     ▼▼▼

Newsletter Signup
  • Nick Aster

    Although I don’t think it matters in the cotext of this post, it’s important to mention that Burt’s Bees was recently aquired by Clorox – not without some controversy in the green business community. So does this campaign mean progress for Clorox too? Big question!

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul

    Well, they also recently purchased nearly 4 million kwh of wind power RECs, enough to make all their power needs met by that. And they’re offering to subsidize 50% of the cost of their employees doing it too. http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/080212/20080212006037.html?.v=1
    So I’d say, if they continue to be a successful company, and increasingly do so via these campaigns, Clorox, and other companies, will take notice. My question is, was it perhaps Clorox’s influence to run these ads? Big question indeed…

  • http://ecopreneurist.com/ MC Milker

    Shannon- thanks for the link- we discuss these issues quite a bit at ecopreneurist on greenoptions.com!
    To Paul,
    It was at least Clorox’s money and perhaps their greater access to traditional advertising opportunities. Prior to acquisition, Burt’s Bee’s did not have the money to launch large advertising campaigns and engaged in word of mouth primarily.
    As more and more green companies are purchased by mainstream marketers…and a lot of them have been, we see greater distribution into big retailers and more traditional marketing campaigns.
    There are positives and negatives to this trend which will unfold as more natural and green companies are acquired.

  • http://www.eggusa.net marty mcdonald

    Sorry, I don’t agree. The message may be right – close – but the execution looks like generic personal care CPG. Might as well be Aveda or Body Shop. Where is the Burt’s personality that essentially differentiates it from the current (and assuredly, future) crowded natural/organic personal care category? This has very little of that Burts feeling. In fact, it feels like Clorox did it, not a small independent company that created the original pack design,
    Marty

  • http://thebeautybrains.com Left Brain

    I disagree with the strategy too. They don’t give you any reason to choose Burt’s Bees over some other natural brand. Everyone could take DMDM Hydantoin out of their product if it were really a problem. It’s not a point of differentiation for a brand.
    They also open themselves up to attack of the ingredients they use. There are almost no chemicals that are used in cosmetics that can’t be attacked. How would they defend the residual carcinogenic pesticide levels found in their beeswax?