Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Grass is Always Greener on Your Billboard?

More and more companies are looking for ways to get the jump on the "green" bandwagon hoping to tap into this fast-growing market. However, corporate America still struggles with how to organically incorporate "going green" into their business models. Rather than offering a green product merely to profit, why aren't more companies making a larger impact by becoming a green brand? One reason is that impacting the market by actually becoming green is a tough road to travel.

One socially conscious advertising agency is blazing a green trail. Being 'green' is a passion for Maikel van de Mortel and Bjorgvin Saevarsson, founders of Element Six Media According to van de Mortel and Saevarsson, Element Six Media "gives more to the environment than it takes out of it by providing a green alternative to traditional advertising and branding communications through the use of sustainable earth resources. Reshaping earth's resources like snow, sand, flora and water, we create a unique and engaging experience for our clients' audience."

They live their brand and have created a Company that reflects their mission in every aspect of its operations. Their first obstacle to becoming a fully green company was with their accountant, who resisted the idea of going completely paperless. "It was a long hard battle, one that we compare to the Civil War because it is a civil change. She finally gave in. If you must bill us; send it to us in an email!" Bjorgvin laughs. Another 'green' choice' is not to maintain offices. When I called them in Minneapolis, they were in a downtown coffee shop, working remotely, using smart phones and I Pads.

Every day, Maikel and Bjorgvin work to lessen their carbon footprint in the name of their brand, while offering opportunities for their clients to do the same. Element Six donates to a green charity on behalf of their clients' brands. Bjorgvin explains, "They see a Return on Investment (ROI) while simultaneously contributing to a charity and the community ... there's no waste in the environment. It's a triple ROI that doesn't cost them a dollar more."

Taking gorilla marketing to a new level, they designed a thirty-five foot tall by thirty foot wide snow mural for Green Giant in downtown Philadelphia. The ad was sensational. Yes, it eventually melted, but not before thousands of people had posted pictures of themselves in front of the mural on their Facebook profiles while others tweeted and re-tweeted about the mural. "When people are touching and feeling advertising, you know they are identifying with the brand!" Bjorgvin says.

"There are so many great inventions designed and produced by innovative companies. However, when you look at their advertising and marketing programs, you can see that they're wasteful and not very green". Maikel continues, "Ironically marketers are the first ones to point out the benefits their brands and companies offer, but not enough of these companies do it through ways and means that are green."

The vinyl used for billboards is "wasteful,'s bad for the environment, it can't be recycled, yet these billboards promote how green these companies are". Biorgvin explains. Element Six's alternative is a living billboard made of grass that will make a greater impression on the consumer and have a healthier impact on our planet.


"Each and every step you take...makes a difference." Bjorgvin explains. There are so many ways that companies can make a positive impact on our environment. Telecommuting for one; employees are looking for work-life balance and many would take lower salaries to work remotely one or more days a week. In Los Angeles, people frequently spend upwards of two hours commuting to and from work. Adopting these new models decrease the Company's carbon footprint and their spending.

"As communities and people we need to evolve. If we don't, we'll have a big problem in this beautiful country of ours. People need to get used to change and evolution. This is what keeps us excited and alive although it's not the easiest way to go, that's for sure." says Maikel.

Maikel and Bjorgvin are sure that people believe in Element Six's sustainable campaigns and obviously, they believe they are doing the right thing: healing the planet and educating Corporate America at the same time.

Changing the perspective of an entire industry can be tiring and when asked what keeps them going on those tough days, they say, "Passion! Passion in general about what we are doing. Even on tough days, I keep going back to the dream we had when we started and it stands for all things positive vs. anything negative", says Bjorgvin.

These two pioneers believe they are on the right track. This belief coupled with their fire and passion are blazing a trail for corporate America. Stay tuned for a green billboard in your town very soon!!!

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