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Old 06-17-2003, 02:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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A total Sierra Club lifestyle

Oh geez...

Tuesday, June 17, 2003


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


ENVIRO GROUPS

Sierra Club to launch branding campaign
In the hopes of generating more revenue at a time when
financial contributions to nonprofit organizations
have begun to lag, the Sierra Club will begin putting
its name on a variety of products, said Carl Pope, the
organization's executive director.

The Sierra Club brand will appear on pillows and
mattresses, coffee and tea, toys, hats, gloves and
jackets in stores as early as next month and on
shelves by the fall. " Our products will make it
possible to create a total Sierra Club lifestyle,"
said Johanna O'Kelley, the director of licensing for
the club.

The line targets consumers who will pay more for
environmentally friendly products. The organic coffee
and tea guarantee labor-friendly production methods.
Other products are made from all-natural fabrics,
vegetable dyes and replenishable resources. The Sierra
Club's licensing includes direct advocacy, such as the
inclusion in product packaging of postcards addressed
to Senate Majority leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) calling
for protection of Alaskan forests.

Pope said he hopes profits from sales of the profits
generate roughly $1 million for the club after the
first year -- enough to raise the organization's
lobbying by 20 percent. "We can raise money even as we
promote environmentally conscious consumption," he
said.

The ultimate goal of the new marketing campaign is for
those who purchase Sierra Club products to join the
club as well, Pope said. But some analysts said this
endeavor could pose risks for the organization,
including whether those unsatisfied with the products
will then react negatively to the club itself. "People
who are disappointed with products could stop
supporting the club, and that could mean a boycott not
only of products but of membership," said Paul N.
Bloom, a marketing professor at the University of
North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School
(Claudia H. Deutsch, New York Times, June 15). -- JK
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Old 06-17-2003, 04:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Don't pillows and sheets indicate that you sleep in a house, and if you sleep in a house it is probably on land, and that land probably used to be wild before your house was built...

There is hypocrisy in everything that EXTREMISTS do, but I have to admit that if it works they are going to be armed with even more money to file frivolous lawsuits.
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Old 06-17-2003, 06:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dirty Harry
Don't pillows and sheets indicate that you sleep in a house, and if you sleep in a house it is probably on land, and that land probably used to be wild before your house was built...

There is hypocrisy in everything that EXTREMISTS do, but I have to admit that if it works they are going to be armed with even more money to file frivolous lawsuits.
so lets not LET it work!

I'm totally serious in my other post in the same thread in chit-chat.... I'll copy it here for the record.... Ithink a National campaign is in order here.....



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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be a convenience store - NOT a government agency!!!!
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Old 06-17-2003, 06:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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since they gave us the heads up on this....

I'm calling on every single one of you to post up when you see ANY of their products in ANY store so that ALL of us can work to convince each store that they are doing a disservice to their customers by carrying the line....


Brad, can you post this int he L/U forum so we (I) can keep tabs on it and bring it to the top everytime we find a store that needs some "convincing"



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Old 06-17-2003, 08:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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im in!!!!
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Great idea Peter, power to the people!
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Old 06-19-2003, 09:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You won't find me shopping in stores that sell that crap! I'd be glad to tell off store managers in my area. Ignorant tree huggers! Its because of the Sierra Club everything is closed to wheelin' round here.

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Old 06-20-2003, 07:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm sure their crap will show up in REI, which any self-respecting access for all person doesn't visit anyway.

Question is, what "regular" store will it infect. Any guesses?

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Old 06-20-2003, 09:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd buy a Blue Ribbon pillowcase. Kinda catchy huh.
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Old 06-20-2003, 10:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Here's the original NY Times story from 6/15:

Green Marketing: Label With a Cause
By CLAUDIA H. DEUTSCH


HE first time a colleague suggested that Pillowtex make a line of environmentally safe bedding under the Sierra Club brand, Gretchen Dale laughed out loud.

"My first reaction was: `What? I just don't get this,' " recalled Ms. Dale, Pillowtex's senior vice president for design and new product development.

Then came her second reaction: that many people might indeed pay more for bedding that is made of organically grown cotton rather than synthetic blends, that is colored with vegetable dyes instead of formaldehydes and heavy metals and that is filled with replenishable resources like wool. Pillowtex, which had sales of $934.9 million last year, signed on as a Sierra Club licensee.

"People may well realize that what's not healthy for the environment is not healthy for them," she said. "A Sierra Club line could well appeal to those educated, upper-income people that our regular products don't always reach."

Maybe so, but Sierra Club pillows and mattress pads? Wait, there's more, including Sierra Club coffee and tea, Sierra Club toys, Sierra Club hats, gloves, jackets. All start moving to stores in the next month or so and should be on the shelves by fall.

"Our products will make it possible to create a total Sierra Club lifestyle," said Johanna O'Kelley, the director of licensing for the club, which is 111 years old.

Ms. O'Kelley and her licensees are gambling that the club's two-pronged mission to lobby Washington to protect the environment while holding wilderness treks to help people enjoy it has given its name a panache that will work not only on the calendars and books it has sold for decades, but on myriad seemingly unrelated products.

"Organic products, things that you don't throw away, such things fit right in with our values," said Carl Pope, the club's executive director, who added that he expected the products to bring in $1 million in the first year enough to increase the club's lobbying by 20 percent. "We can raise money even as we promote environmentally conscious consumption," he said.

These days, the money is probably paramount. Nonprofit groups face very tough times, said Kurt Aschermann, marketing vice president at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which is also looking for new ways to parlay its name into more financing. "Personal portfolios are down, foundation portfolios are down, unemployment is up; this is the worst time to raise money. Any charity that still says `hands off to commercial ventures' is nuts."

Because the Sierra Club is an advocacy group, donations to it are not tax-deductible. Its licensing contracts call for it to receive royalties of 5 percent to 20 percent of the retail price of each product.

But will the products sell? Specifically, does the Sierra Club brand carry enough oomph to command a premium price a likelihood, because environmentally friendly products are normally more costly to make than the conventional products with which they compete?

The research is encouraging. Mr. Aschermann cited studies that show that three-quarters of consumers will pay more for a product if it is associated with a nonprofit group they care about. And Ms. O'Kelley noted other studies that indicate that two-thirds of consumers consider themselves environmentalists.

Still, it is not a sure thing. In the late 1980's, the club's name appeared on such disparate products as screen savers, pocket knives and T-shirts. The products hit the stores and stayed there. When contracts ran out, few manufacturers renewed. "Our name on those items just didn't help sell them," Mr. Pope said.

This time, rather than slap its name on existing products, the club is contracting with companies to create products that it deems worthy of its name. Its licensing program will include direct advocacy for example, most product packages come with unstamped postcards that are addressed to the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, and ask for protection for Alaskan forests.

But the ultimate goal is to associate the Sierra Club brand with high-quality products, not just a feel-good cause. "If people think Sierra Club products are cool, maybe they'll join the club, too," Mr. Pope said.

For the last year or so, Ms. O'Kelley has been looking for untapped market niches. Yes, Starbucks sells shade-grown coffee, while other companies sell coffee that was cultivated by labor-friendly methods. The Sierra Club will sell coffees meeting both of those criteria, and will sell organic tea as well.

Other companies sell sheets printed with pictures of wolves and trees; the Sierra Club sheets will have muted, almost watercolor-like images. It is easy to find a fleece jacket, but not one with care instructions printed on the fabric in organic inks.

"Consumers are likely to pay more for an organic peach, but not necessarily for an organic fabric," acknowledged Roger Kase, president of Isda & Company, which will make most of the Sierra Club apparel. "So we're being careful to offer colors they don't usually find elsewhere."

Still, the manufacturers are not taking much of a gamble. They can make and distribute the Sierra Club products in their existing plants and distribution networks, and they will pay royalties to the Sierra Club only on products that sell. Moreover, manufacturers who come up with a new way to make an environmentally friendly product keep the patent.

The Sierra Club, by contrast, is taking a big risk. If customers are dissatisfied with a product, they will see its name on the label. "People who are disappointed with products could stop supporting the club, and that could mean a boycott not only of products but of membership," said Paul N. Bloom, a marketing professor at the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School.

The flip side success is also scary. "How do they protect the brand if their products catch on, and inferior knockoffs appear on street corners?" asked Michael Watras, president of Straightline International, which consults on branding.

Mr. Bloom adds another downside: "Donors might figure that, with products bringing in revenues, the club doesn't need their money."

Michael Draznin, managing director of the McKinney Communications Group, even worries about a backlash from the advocacy postcards. "They are telling people that, by buying their product, they are buying into an issue that they may not personally support," he warned.


OF course, problems can lurk even when a nonprofit group just lets a manufacturer publicly support its cause. If the manufacturer's name is tainted with scandal, the nonprofit group can be tarred by implication. And even when a group does not specifically endorse a product as environmentally sound, many consumers think that such endorsement is implied.

Indeed, the Nature Conservancy has taken much heat for linking its name to companies or products whose only environmental angle is their support of the conservancy. James R. Petterson, a conservancy spokesman, says that it "has never made claims about the environmental efficacy of the products that carry our name," but that its board is "reviewing all our policies with regard to cause-related marketing." Not all of the Sierra Club's products are environmentally pure, either. Pillowtex uses nonorganic fibers for many comforters to prevent the fillers from migrating through the cover fabric. And Mr. Kase, the manufacturer, said the club recognized that he had to use synthetics for some items. "They are an advocacy group, yes, but they live in a practical world," he said.

Mr. Pope acknowledges the problems. "We will probably make mistakes and, sure, I worry about that," he said. Still, the worries aren't stopping him from dreaming. Five years down the road? "Don't be surprised if you see a Sierra Club couch."
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Old 06-20-2003, 12:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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"They are an advocacy group, yes, but they live in a practical world," he said.
This is the part that cracked me up.

I actually kind of like the premise, making organic and environmentally friendly products. I would buy those if they did not support environmental terrorism. Nice reference to the age of the club too, John Muir wouldn't recognize what they have become.
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