In a Deep Recession, Which Green is Really More Important?

Sometimes I feel sorry for the color green. It is much maligned and often misunderstood.

A green light is a good thing. It is a sign of approval, as in: “You are good to go.”

A green thumb is a good thing. It indicates that one has the ability to make things grow.

A green person is a bad thing. It is a sign of inexperience and/or jealousy.

And a person who is green around the gills is not a good thing. It implies you are not looking too well.

But the most popular meanings of “green” today – at least in the United States – are money and the environment. To have some green is a good thing. Likewise, keeping the planet green is a good thing. So, green is good.

But wait just a minute. Aren’t we all in agreement that the endless quest for “money” in the U.S. is what is primarily responsible for the destruction of the “environment?” The factories pumping toxins into the air and into the water, the coal miners stripping away at the land, the lumberjack’s destroying the forests, the cars and SUVs sucking up gas and spewing out pollution.

And isn’t the new green the enemy of the old green? Doesn’t Al Gore want smaller, more efficient cars and more land with trees and less coal mining and fewer factories?

So doesn’t that make green good and bad at the same time? I am so confused.

Fortunately, WalMart has it all figured out. They know it is just a matter of time before Al Gore and his goon squad of dogood treehuggers create some kind of ridiculous legislation that requires manufacturers and retailers to be greener, which in turn will cost them truckloads of green in order to be in compliance. So WalMart is being proactive and creating its own environmental regulations.

Sure, it will cost suppliers some extra green, which in turn will cost consumers some extra green, but in the end, WalMart will make a lot of green and eventually become the universal symbol for green… and of course, for green.

This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.