Let’s go behind the curtain. Sometimes, when I’m looking for inspiration for my blog, I’ll come up with a general idea and then go to the Google machine. A little search here and a little search there and I will likely find something funny, unexpected, and tangentially related to my theme. Today was one of those days.
I Googled “bad marketing examples.” Trust me, I had PLENTY of material to choose from. There are a ton of examples of marketing-gone-astray, and I figured I would find the perfect one to share here. Upon further reflection, I am going to do what so many of those campaigns simply failed to do – pull the plug. Just about everything I found was on the tenuous border of funny and offensive, tipping toward the latter. Heck, it was their offensiveness that landed these marketing faux pas on these lists anyway.
Go do your own Googling of you are so inclined, and I’ll settle for an awkward transition instead....
So, do you want to know another example of bad marketing? Climate activism!
Here’s a disclaimer in advance – I’m exceedingly grateful to all of the climate scientists, nonprofits, politicians, and others who work tirelessly on the issue of our changing climate. Global warming is THE challenge and opportunity of our generation (and those to come).
That said (and tip of the hat to Paul Hawken for being the first one to point this out to me), I want you to note that the globally accepted goal of the climate movement is to limit temperature increases to 2.0°C, or ideally 1.5°C. The whole 1.5/2.0°C thing is, um, how do I say this… not great. First of all, it takes a special person here in the United States to be able to translate that to Fahrenheit (2.7/3.6°, in case you were wondering).
Second, what’s the baseline temperature that we are measuring from? I know the answer is pre-industrial temperatures, but I have no clue what pre-industrial temperatures even were, so how are they useful in terms of understanding the goal?
Third, you have to be very well versed in climate science to understand why just a couple of degrees of average temperature change are a problem. Most people hear “two degrees” and think, “That sounds small, and it would be kind of nice to be a bit warmer, especially in the winter.” The reason for concern is well documented, but far from obvious.
Finally, it’s just a bad goal, in that it focuses on avoiding a bad thing. How inspired would you be if you had a coach who said, “Okay team, now I want you to give me everything you have to make sure we don’t lose!”? Forget that – I want to be a winner, not a not-loser.
I get it, the temperature thresholds were never meant to be a marketing campaign, so I’m holding them up to an unfair standard. That doesn’t change the fact that they’ve become the dominant “brand” of the global climate movement.
Fortunately, local climate movements are not bound to the same brand standard as the global movement. Next week, I’ll tell you about one such local movement, beginning to bubble up my own backyard. Stay tuned!
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