Steadfast FinancesGM's Yukon Denali Hybrid: Worst Greenwashing Campaign Ever? - Steadfast Finances

GM’s Yukon Denali Hybrid: Worst Greenwashing Campaign Ever?

Filed in Consumer Education , Green Living 1 comments

gmc-hybrid-yukon-denaliI now understand why General Motors (aka Government Motors) has done so poorly over the last three decades:  they just don’t seem to get the big picture when it comes to winning the battle of public opinion.

Earlier this week, GM announced plans to retrofit the GMC Yukon Denali line into a full sized hybrid SUV.

As if GM hasn’t made enough bad decisions already, they decide to make one of their luxury vehicles even more expensive hoping a shiny “Hybrid” decal on the tailgate and single digit gas savings would make it more appealing to the masses.

In reality, it seems more like putting a silk hat on a pig.  You can dress it up all you want, but it’s still a porker.

What is Greenwashing?

For those new to the concept of the greenwashing, it is generally defined as:

Greenwashing is environmental whitewashing.  Companies make claims about a product with respect to its environmental benefits or impacts that are either false or misleading.  — TerraChoice

In other words, it’s an attempt to make their product appear to be eco-friendly.  Behind the scenes in marketing boardrooms, decisions (deceptions?) are made in the hopes that you won’t recognize the hidden trade-offs, falling for the “lesser of the two evils” argument, or not being smart enough to catch them in an outright lie.

[click through to see greenwashing video]

Of course, a lack of truthful advertising shouldn’t come as too much of a shock considering we’ve developed into a culture that expects to hear a bogus sales pitch at every turn.

GM’s All Out Marketing Blitz

As GM struggles to maintain its head above water, it’s not surprising they are trying every marketing gimmick they can think of.

Take a look at the all out marketing campaign:

  1. Patriotism:  Buy American!  It’s the patriotic thing to do since we built planes and tanks in WWII.  Nevermind the U.S. Government paid for them for their services.
  2. Bargain hunters:  We’re allowing the general public to participate in GM Employee Pricing and zero interest auto loans.  We’re desperate to sell our excess inventory since we have no place to park the tens of thousands unsold cars.
  3. Government backed warranties:  We stand for solidarity and our government has our back.  Now that we’ve run a national icon into the ground, we’re forcing Uncle Sam pick up the tab.
  4. Statistics: We sell more cars in the U.S. than any other car company.  Your cars also break down more often so you have to sell more new cars to replace those in the junkyards.

So if all these hard sell marketing campaigns haven’t been working, why not make an attempt to appeal to the remaining subgroups that won’t buy your cars?

Slap on a shiny hybrid sticker and advertise the heck out of it until everyone knows you’re an eco-friendly car company.  Perhaps if you say it enough — say twice an hour during primetime TV — maybe someone will eventually begin to believe it.

Personally, I think I’ll just wait for a Hybrid Hummer since the Chevy Volt is being delayed.

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Posted by CJ   @   8 April 2009 1 comments
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