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GlowFungi: Glowing Advertisements Using Natural Fungi

| Friday December 18th, 2009 | 4 Comments

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When you hear the term “green marketing,” it typically conjures up images of recycling symbols, meaningful imagery, and stories of passionate company founders. But Curb, a London based “natural media company” takes it to another, more literal level: It creates marketing using natural elements, including sea salt, snow tagging and compost art (sans manure, thankfully!).

The components of Glowfungi

The components of Glowfungi

But its latest innovation, upon viewing, may appear totally artificial: Glowing signs, looking like they were made from black light paint or glow stick material.

It is in fact a completely natural occurrence, based on bacteria, without chemical input, glowing for anywhere from a day to a week. In scientific terms, it’s, “fungal hyphae illuminated by fluorescence and bioluminescence.” Called Glowfungi, or as Curb prefers, Discofungi, designs can be created in petri dishes, or applied in gel form directly on any surface desired.

Now the question is, who will apply this to marketing, and how?

Ironically, the greener the company, the more likely it will have to convey in its advertising that it is indeed a natural medium being used–and not the product of glow stick juice. It could light the path to offering a green option for something that could not have been done sustainably before. The medium requires no electricity to illuminate the sign could–an alternative energy company could employ the innovation in its signage.

Or it could be your more general purpose company, seeking a unique way to stand out from the visual clutter. Seeing as the effect lasts a relatively brief time, event signage comes to mind as another use. If used in a form that lasts a week, there could be a weekly changing of the piece for an outdoor or transit station space that’s been rented for a month, keeping the messaging and the interest fresh.

With the prevalence of social media and people’s increasing use of it to share what they experience in the world, whoever uses this new medium is likely to get a fair amount of, pardon the pun, viral exposure.

Readers: What innovative forms of marketing, green or otherwise, are you seeing out there? If you run a company, would you use Glowfungi in your marketing?

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media.


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  • Nexyoo

    Another interesting green marketing idea I've seen is the use of laser-cut leaves to replace paper flyers– they can just be tossed on the ground after someone's read them.

    • GreenSmithC

      That's a great idea, both visually memorable and minimal processing of the resource to make use of it.

  • http://mycorant.com/ Phil

    This is interesting and I'm going to look into it. But, there seems to be some confusion in the post about the difference between bacteria and fungi:

    “It is in fact a completely natural occurrence, based on bacteria,…”

  • http://mycorant.com/ Phil

    This is interesting and I'm going to look into it. But, there seems to be some confusion in the post about the difference between bacteria and fungi:

    “It is in fact a completely natural occurrence, based on bacteria,…”