AntiFriday: Earth Day backlash? Coffeemaker betrayal? Prius-smashers? Etc.

Posted by Rob Walker on April 18, 2008
Posted Under: Anti,Backlashing

Aside from the already-mentioned Anti-Advertising Agency’s plan to get marketers to quit their jobs, here’s the rest of this week’s list of backlashes, critiques, and dissent.

1. Earth Day is coming up. Guess what? Ad Age suggests there may be a kind of Earth Day backlash brewing, and that the holiday is practically becoming “the new Christmas,” as “marketers of all stripes are bombarding consumers with green promotions and products designed to get them to buy more products — some eco-friendly, some not so much.”

“Companies are saying, ‘We need something to green ourselves up, so let’s … sponsor Earth Day,'” one marketer comments. “It’s really now in this hype curve, and hopefully we’re getting toward the top, so we can start having some fallout.” Another is more blunt: ” “Earth Day’s usefulness has passed.”

2. Actually this is one from last month, but I wanted to mention it. There’s this company in Seattle that makes a single-cup, commercial-grade brewer, called a Clover, “specifically for the cafe and retail environment.” And indeed it seems their clients tended to be indie coffee shops. More recently, this company was purchased by Starbucks. At least some indie shops, such as Stumptown in Portland/Seattle are now reportedly dumping their Clovers. Says the owner of River Maiden Coffee in Vancouver: “This feels like a betrayal.” Core77 coments that the incident is a “precise, accelerated example of how a well-designed product can become a vessel into which people pour their beliefs, expectations and senses of betrayal.”

3. Via’s incoming links, I can offer you one person’s backlash to the recently mentioned drug advertising campaign that uses the form of “Missing” fliers, which apparently is in place in San Francisco as well as New York: “Particularly distasteful.”

More backlashes, critiques and dissents after the jump.

4. This article suggests, perhaps, a rather extreme Prius backlash: “Six such cars have been vandalized in Petaluma in the past two weeks.” Via Treehugger.

5. Speaking of Treehugger, that site labels a line of T’s made by Coke from recycled Coke bottles an example of “greenwashing.” “It is not green to take a bottle, ship it off somewhere to be turned into fabric and sewn into t-shirts.”

6. And finally: The backlash as sales strategy. Via Agenda, we learn that McDonald’s is leading the backlash against snobby coffee (“no second language required”) at

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

I live in Portland and it is very heartbreaking that Stumptown dumped Clover IMMEDIATELY after Starbucks bought it. I understand why they’d want to distance themselves from the giant coffee company, but Starbucks isn’t even employing Clovers yet.

Clovers made single-serving coffee, and with good beans it’s one of the best cups you can get anywhere. I seriously doubt Starbucks will be using Clovers in all their stores. If they do, the lines will be even longer and the price of the coffee would be even higher. If you can imagine that.

Written By MarcoPolo on April 21st, 2008 @ 9:38 am

What’s amazing is it leaves one of Stumptown’s accounts – River Maiden Artisan Coffee – as the only place in the world to get Stumptown Coffee through a Clover. I drove into suburbia (Vancouver, WA) just to get some. I was having withdrawals after getting hooked on it at the Ace Hotel.

Written By SunDodger on April 22nd, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

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