We all know that green is the new black, at least as far as marketing goes but not all “green” initiatives are created equal. On Earth Day my colleague Mark and I went to talk to our building management about implementing a recycling program. We’d been taking our recyclables home in fits and starts over the last two years and were feeling overwhelmed with the process. Happily, the management agreed to our request and we are in the midst of its launch. Lesson? Sometimes, even when you have been told “no” in the past all it takes is the right timing and approach. The Big Ask.
Which brings me to something I stumbled upon recently – Puma’s redesign and launch of improved shoe packaging. According to its website: “After more than ten years of successful implementation of its social and environmental standards (puma.safe), PUMA launched the next pivotal phase by introducing its cutting-edge sustainable packaging and distribution system by renowned industrial designer Yves Béhar. The new innovative solution will significantly reduce the amount of waste and CO2 emissions that traditional product packaging such as shoe-boxes and apparel polyethylene bags generate and underpins PUMA’s target of reducing carbon, energy, water, and waste by 25%, and developing 50% of its international product collections in footwear, apparel and accessories according to best practice sustainability standards by 2015.”
To kick off the effort, Puma also issued a beautifully designed info-graphics promo that deftly illustrates the goal, process and intended results.
Using its signature red and white, the ad is a great showpiece for both the how-to on the “Clever Little Bag” and is a respectful nod to the benefits of using design to better our lives. It is a well designed promotion by production company Labour, animated and chatty, with a contemporary aesthetic that says "simple is elegant" even when it comes to shoes and shoe packaging. Nice touches, like using boxes as building blocks for text, remind us that the thinking for the initiative was, literally out-of-box.
After viewing, I dug deeper and discovered Puma has made a pledge to become carbon neutral this year. Now this doesn’t mean that I have researched Puma’s entire environmental record, but it does reinvigorate my perception of the brand, which, admittedly, I had relegated to memories of elementary school circa 1976. Given that my childhood was informed by post-Earth Day mindset of healthy eating and "give a hoot, don't pollute" that isn't such a bad connection. But a brand cannot live on pure nostalgia alone, which is why the current styings of both the ad and Clever Little Bag are key to the launch's success in the here and now.
We make daily choices that impact the future -- and when a company elects to take steps in the right direction it can win over new purchasers and help raise awareness about waste simultaneously. It’s a tricky dance in the realm of advertising, but Puma seems to be taking it in stride.