Besides bad “guru” content and great online video content worth paying for, another theme we examined several times in 2012 was the Marketing world’s infatuation with three “next new things” – namely, green products; organic and private label foods; and electric cars.
We said they wouldn’t get much more mileage, if you will (see Mitt Romney). And they didn’t.
Green Gets Red Light
From the hilariously titled GfK Roper “Green Gauge” research report this Fall:
>>> 49% of people said they were willing to pay more for a green car, down from 62% in 2008
>>> ditto 60% for energy-efficient light bulbs, down from 70%
>>> ditto 47% for paper products made from recycle, down from 53%
>>> ditto 48% for electricity from renewable sources, down from 56%
Is the sense of apathy we told you about here coming through strong enough?
Organic In Or Inorg…?
An offshoot of green is the lust for food products made without human-introduced chemicals. Pricey stuff, unless you have a high-paying job, and anyway, organic food is better for you, right?
In September, this:
>>> Stanford University scientists, after four decades of research, concluded that fruits and vegetables labeled organic were no more nutritious than their conventional counterparts. Nor were they any less likely to be contaminated by E. coli. Ick !
If consumers thinking of making their first organic-food purchase needed something other than sky-high prices to persuade them to stay inorganic, this might be it.
As it is, organics represent just 4.2% of U.S. food sales. That’s up a whole 0.2 percentage points from the prior year. And that’s with near double-digit annual growth.
Electric Auto Industry Needs Recharging
We told you here that consumers’ lack of faith in batteries would stymie EV sales.
In early October, the plant “making” batteries for the Chevy Volt EV began furloughing workers (without ever having produced a Volt battery pack). GM’s 2012 sales projections for the Volt have essentially been cut in half.
And other companies who leapt into the battery manufacturing business can’t get out fast enough:
>>> Two recipients of U.S. government “battery grants,” A123 Systems and EnerDel, have filed for bankruptcy.
>>> Just over a month ago, Dow Chemical wrote off a couple hundred million dollars on its lithium ion battery joint venture, for a plant that hasn’t made a single battery (and probably never will).
And once again, bad news put directly in the face of consumers. Ford, the company that invented social media authenticity (see Scott Monty), was exposed three weeks ago by Consumer Reports for “pulling a Hyundai,” claiming much higher mileage (8 to 10 mpg) than consumers can actually achieve on its C-Max and Fusion hybrid vehicles.
The message for marketers is to be wary of “waves.” If you decide to simply ride them, you will crash upon the shore when they do.