Green is not selling the way it used to. This is old news and it is the Onion. But it marks the start of a trend.
STATEN ISLAND, NY–An estimated 450,000 unsold copies of Time's special April 22 Earth Day issue were trucked Monday from the magazine's New Jersey distribution center to the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island.How about some more recent evidence from a more reputable source?
The discarded copies of the issue–which features articles about conservation, biodiversity, and recycling, as well as guest editorials by President Clinton and Leonardo DiCaprio–are expected to decompose slowly over the next 175 years.
"Unfortunately, 'Earth Day 2000' wasn't as successful as we had hoped," Time managing editor Walter Isaacson said. "After selling out of such special issues as 'The Future Of Medicine,' 'Baseball At 100,' 'The Kennedys: An American Dynasty,' and 'Celebrating The American Automobile,' we thought we had another winner with this one. But of a press run of 485,000, only 35,000 sold. I guess we overestimated the demand for a full-color, 98-page Earth Day issue printed on glossy, high-pulp paper."
Green issues don't sell say a number of publishers.
As global warming was first becoming a cause célèbre a few years ago, many serious environmentalists worried that green was in danger of becoming a fad -- something that would inevitably recede from consciousness after overtaxing our limited pop-cultural attention span.Enviro hysteria does not sell the way it once did.
Sad to say, that prediction shows signs of coming true. Last week, The New York Times noted that the advertising industry is pulling back from green-themed marketing, having "grasped the public's growing skepticism over ads with environmental messages.
And advertisers' concerns are buttressed by the recent sales figures for magazines that have published a "Green Issue" this year. Time's Earth Day issue was the newsweekly's third-lowest-selling issue of 2008 so far, according to ABC Rapid Report. A typical issue of Time sells 93,000 or so copies on the newsstand; the April 28 installment, which substituted green for red in the magazine's trademarked cover design, sold only 72,000.
The New York Times says ad agencies are starting to get it.
At an annual gathering of the advertising industry a year ago in Cannes, the environment was the topic du jour. “Be seen, be green,” one agency urged on the invitation to its party at a hillside villa.So let me give you an anecdote of my own. Instapundit linked to a piece I did on the decline of carbon hysteria, The Globe Reverberates With Laughter, and the comment section just went nuts. As one commenter noted: politicians ought to be careful. Elections get lost big time when public opinion changes and politicians don't. Take the question of drilling for more oil in the USA. I made a bumper sticker about it that is rather cute: Without Lubrication, which looks at the change in attitudes about drilling for oil in America and off its shores. A nominally green issue. About 60% of the American public thinks more oil is of greater importance than reducing the risk of oil spills to zero. The reason? Green is fine as long as the pocket book effects are small or well hidden. That is no longer the case.
Al Gore, invited by another agency, delivered a message linked to “An Inconvenient Truth,” his book and film about climate change: That the ad industry could play an influential role in encouraging businesses and consumers to change their ways and slow global warming.
The sun was still beating down on the Côte d’Azur last month as advertising executives from around the world returned for this year’s festival. But Mr. Gore was nowhere to be found, and the party buzz was about the American presidential election, the Euro 2008 soccer tournament and even the business of advertising itself. Green marketing, while booming, had lost some of its cachet.
Democrats may be in for a rougher time this year than they expect. I have some advice for them: "It's the price of gasoline, stupid."
H/T Counting Cats in Zanzibar