Green Marketing Done Right: Burt’s Bees New Campaign

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.

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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.

Shannon Arvizu, Ph.D., is a clean tech educator and cutting-edge consultant for the auto industry. You can follow her test drives in the cars of the future at www.misselectric.com.