Poland Spring's Advertisement Campaign Failure

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David Milazzo

Ms. Hogan

CLL 190

10/21/11

Eco-Shaped Pollution:

Why Poland Springs New Eco-Shaped Ad Campaign is not so Eco-Friendly

Poland Spring’s recent advertisement puts its viewers in a serene natural environment; a nice sunny day overlooking a crystal clear spring on a green field. In the center of this field is a giant plastic bottle, one that is “environmentally friendly.” The bottle is praised and pointed out for using “less plastic,” “less paper,” and the very important “dye-free cap.” The bottle is called the “Eco-Shaped bottle” and is designed to have less impact on the earth. The entire scene is under the giant caption that tells of how Poland Spring is doing “less” to the environment. The company is selling water in a disposable plastic bottle yet the advertisement seems to be trying to convince people that by consuming their disposable product they are some how helping the environment; that because they drink Poland Spring water they are doing “less to the environment. This advertising strategy however is not uncommon. According to Julia B. Corbett “ ‘green advertising’ has focused on ads that promote environmental sensitivity toward… a corporate image of environmental sensitivity” (Corbett 148). The recent ad campaign may seen to be about Poland Spring’s new “Eco-Shaped” bottle, but it is really about diverting attention from the pollution the bottle generates to instead creating a pro-environmental view of the company and its product.

The Eco-Shaped bottle by Poland Spring is marketed with a few selling points the company points out directly in their advertisement. The bottle uses “30% less plastic”, “less paper” and a “dye-free cap”. These improvements are better for the environment then the original bottle used by Poland Spring. However the problem lies in the fact that the product is still harmful to the environment. Last time I checked less of a bad thing is still a bad thing. According a recent article by Hope Molinaro, the California Department of Conservation (CDOC) stated, “in California, more than a billion plastic water bottles wind up in the trash each year” and that total is only the amount of bottles in the state of California (Molinaro, 64). The total amount equates to 3 million empty water bottles per day disposed of in just one state (Molinaro, 64). That large amount of plastic has many detrimental effects to the environment. The materials used to make the bottles consist of a tremendous amount of resources and are difficult to dispose of if not recycled. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to make the claim that a good portion of the plastic bottle waste generated in the United States is produced by the Poland Spring Company. Not only is the plastic filling our landfills, but there is evidence that the water bottle company is polluting its own town. According to a 2008 study of pollution demographics of Androscoggin County in Maine, where Poland Spring’s headquarters is located, the particulate matter is 62% higher there than the United States average (Unknown). It’s also 61% higher then the state of Maine’s average particulate matter found (Unknown). Particulate matter is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. Poland Spring’s advertisement does not show any of this particulate matter when depicting how green and lush the springs it gets its water from are.

One aspect of the Poland Spring’s advertisement that I find different and contradictory to traditional green thinking is that in the ad the plastic Poland Spring water bottle, is shown in nature. Normally when a plastic water bottle is found laying in a field or any natural setting for that matter, it is viewed upon as pollution. In this ad the bottle is sitting in nature and is supposed to be appealing to the...
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