Shameless Publicity Stunt Dept. — Free Used Moving Boxes Offer for Packing up Your Foreclosed Home
Photo courtesy of Used Cardboard Boxes
UsedCardboardBoxes.com, a company last seen on TreeHugger flagrantly self-advertising via a comment on a post on green moving has now come up with another half-baked marketing move. They're offering one 'free earth-friendly moving kit' to any family that has just lost their home due to foreclosure. The family just has to pay the shipping and handling (odd, since on the website, it says shipping is free for regular orders). If your thoughts instinctively conjured up keywords like 'salt,' 'wound,' 'insult,' or 'injury,' then you're not alone.Any Press Is, Well . . .
It would be different if this was a non-profit organization, a service provided by the Salvation Army maybe. But as a for-profit company's thinly, thinly veiled marketing ploy, it's veers toward blatantly offensive.
From the press release:
Marty Metro, the eco-entrepreneur that founded UsedCardboardBoxes.com in 2006, watches the market closely and empathizes with the plight of the displaced homeowner.
When Metro heard that 1 of 416 homes in the US fell victim to foreclosure last month (USA Today), he wanted to do what he could to help. "We're trying to take the sting out of buying moving supplies and still show the world that you don't have to cut down a tree, to make a used cardboard box!" explains Metro.
Seems more like taking advantage of an opportunity than empathy to me—and does that salesman's jingle at the end churn anyone else's gut? These are people's homes they're talking about here—and the pitch's translation, something like "Show the world you can pack up your worldly belongings when you're forced into homelessness the eco-friendly way," is insensitive, maybe inappropriate. It's been revealed that for whatever reason, thousands of people are simply leaving most of their possessions behind when their homes are foreclosed. Losing a home is painful, and emptying it of belong there is likely a reminder of what's being lost—it's hardly the time for a 'green packing' pitch.
Used Moving Boxes Good, Exploitative Publicity Bad
Bear in mind that this is not a necessarily a bad company—just an ignorant marketing move. UsedCardboardBoxes.com has plenty of positive qualities: they can deliver large quantities of reused boxes for businesses, thus cutting waste, and they donate a percentage of their earnings to plant trees through TreePeople.org. And the company may genuinely have good intentions with their offer. But picking up publicity at the expense of people who've lost their homes due to a national financial crisis is bad form.