Move Over Greenwashing - 'Localwashing' Has Arrived (PICS)

wal mart localwashing photo

Yup, that's the 'local' produce section in Wal-Mart. Photos via Grist

We're all plenty familiar with the advertising trend where marketers seek to portray products and services from a 'green' angle, regardless of their actual environmental impact. Well, perhaps such greenwashing campaigns have proved so successful (some 98% of 'eco-labeled' products were greenwashed last year) that marketers are following its lead to exploit another growing environmental trend--this time, it's "localwashing." Here are some pictures of the worst ads by big companies pretending to be local in order to cash in on conscious consumers.Grist put together an informative/appalling/hilarious slideshow that demonstrates how big corporations--from the Venezuelan oil company Citgo to Starbucks to Lay's--have launched marketing campaigns attempting to portray their businesses as 'local' to cash in on the positive trend of buying and eating local.

Here are some of the more egregious examples:



Jonathan Hiskies writes for Grist:
Citgo: "Local. Loyal. Like it should be." The crop of new billboards from the petroleum company owned by Hugo Chavez's Venezuelan government makes sense only if the rather undemocratic president lives around the corner from you. Which he doesn't.


Hellmann's Mayonnaise

Nothing like buying some home grown mayo in Canada, right? Well, not quite. From Grist: "Hellmann's Mayonnaise, a U.S.-based subsidiary of European processed-food behemoth Unilever, has seen fit to subject Canada (Canada?) to an eat-local campaign." Pretty low.



Grist says:
Potato farmers pitch chips fresh from the field in a series of ads from Frito-Lay North America, a subsidiary of PepsiCo. The five regional ads reportedly feature farmers who really do grow potatoes in those areas. "By this logic, all of us here in Iowa can begin referring to high fructose corn syrup as a local food as well."



The "15th Ave Coffee and Tea" establishment you see here is really a Starbucks in disguise--it was stripped, redecorated, and re-branded in effort to seem more 'local.'


Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce in Chapel Hill has an online program that supposedly helps direct residents to local businesses. Like Wal-Mart.

See the whole slideshow over at Grist.

More on Greenwashing:
How To Spot Greenwashing
Is New Organic Beauty Label Green or Greenwash?
Is Cash for Clunkers Government Greenwashing?

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