As the race to the finish heats up on "American Idol," a race of another kind is just beginning. It's the search for the next "Organic Idol," a contest to crown the first-ever spokesperson for the Organic Agriculture and Products Education Institute (Organic Institute). According to the organization, the winner (based on the popularity of their YouTube video about organic products) will appear in its upcoming fall 2009 ad campaign, following its very first consumer advertising campaign, which launched just last month.
Consumers and advertisers alike are jumping on the green bandwagon, the former investing (both figuratively and financially) in a green lifestyle while the latter boosts efforts to connect with eco-conscious buyers. The result is an increased demand for green-related Web content that addresses these issues and that puts marketers in closer proximity to their potential customers.
All parties are flocking to sites like "The Daily Green." This fantastically comprehensive resource offers information on everything related to environment issues and global warming. Part of Hearst Digital Media, the site is where you'll find brands like Radio Shack promoting its new in-store trade-in program in which old and used gadgets can be returned to the store, appraised for their value, and exchanged for a Radio Shack gift card. Banners incorporate the traditional symbol of recycling to resonate with green-conscious consumers.
Your product needn't be recycled to warrant advertising it on "The Daily Green," though. With content sections like "save money" and "fuel-efficient cars," your economically-themed campaigns and newest high mileage model could be the perfect fit, whether they tout the pennies buyers will save on your brand of macaroni and cheese or enlighten car shoppers on the latest environmentally-friendly automotive technology.
If it's cars you are promoting -- or car shoppers you're eager to reach -- you can also look to popular automotive blogs like Autoblog's sister site AutoBlogGreen. Besides posting the latest automotive content and updates on subjects like ethanol subsidies and flex-fuel motorbikes, it's now drumming up additional interest and traffic by posting its headlines on Twitter.
TreeHugger.com covers the automotive space too, of course, but this green site offers more versatility with additional topics that include design, architecture, fashion, and beauty. TreeHugger was purchased by Discovery Communications in 2007 in a move to cash in on the green theme and has been thriving ever since; the site is currently nominated for Best Culture/Personal Blog in the 2009 Webby Awards People's Voice. Its advertisers range from Adobe to Free People brand clothing and accessories.
For a broader reach, try aligning with SustainLane Green Ad Network, the self-proclaimed "largest green ad network" with over 300 million monthly page views. Last year the network more than doubled its audience reach, going from 10 million in January of 2008 to 21 million in December -- a true sign of the growing interest in environmentally-responsible living.
The network's sites, of which there are over 125, focus on living a green lifestyle -- what SustainLane calls "Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability" (LOHAS) -- and span 10 content channels that include "Outdoor and Environment," "Socially Responsible Investing," "Natural Health and Beauty," and "Green Hollywood." Advertisers range from Gardenburger, Tom's Natural Care of Maine, and Honda to HSBC and "The New York Times."
Whether your target audience is moms, dads, young professionals, in-market automotive shoppers, or fashionistas, you'll find them on green-themed sites. You'll also find interesting and engaging content to support your campaigns. Green content may be trendy, but it isn't a trend. These issues are here to stay, as are the sites that are generating unique advertising opportunities for marketers all of kinds.
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Tessa Wegert is an interactive media strategist with Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy and services agencies, serving such brands as Bioré, Bratz, Food Network, illy, Hunter Douglas, Jergens, and Olympic Paints and Stains. An industry veteran, Tessa has worked in online media buying and planning, marketing, and online copywriting since 1999. She is an active freelance writer specializing in interactive marketing who has contributed to U.S. and Canadian publications, including "USA Weekend Magazine," "Marketing Magazine," "The Globe and Mail," and "The Montreal Gazette." She is frequently quoted as an industry expert and speaks regularly at industry conferences and events.
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