Archive for the ‘LOHAS’ Tag

Marketing In Social Media/Blogosphere   Leave a comment

This is something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately for some reason. Generally speaking, I ignore advertisements. In fact, I’m a perverse person who is more likely to avoid a product that I have seen advertised on TV than go out and buy it. This started early, with my subscription to Consumer Reports for Kids back when I was a kid. One of the major foci of the magazine was teaching kids to be critical observers of ads, and not snookered by every slick saying. I took the lesson to heart. Plus I seem to remember my parents discouraging logo t-shirts as just free advertising for a company. So something has to be really important to me before I’m willing to tout a shirt/bag/whatever with a logo. Looking in my closet and drawers I see logos for my alma mater, the University of Michigan, and that’s it. (Although some of them have small sponsorship logos on them). As of last week, however, there’s a new one. Calvert has started a new campaign called the “Too Big To Fail” campaign, and I was immediately captivated. So I was willing to take a photo, have it uploaded to Facebook with me tagged, and liked Calvert on Facebook for the t-shirt saying “Too Big To Fail” under a giant graphic of the earth.

This makes Calvert only the second company to make it into my “interests” on Facebook. Now I’m not sure what I want to do about it. I do like Calvert, which is a good thing since my IRA is with them and we plan to open a Washington DC 529 plan since that’s the one they manage. Social investing is really important to me. But am I willing to be free advertising for them? Not sure. On my website I have a short list of online retailers that I like. I put it there because I used to get asked a lot where I go to buy organic clothing, etc. I had forgotten about the list but now I think I’m going to take it down because, again, I’m not sure I’m willing to be free advertising for them.

On the other hand, is it really a compromise of my values to promote companies that align with my values? I can walk around in jeans all day every day without anyone realizing that they are organic cotton and entirely made-in-America, so just buying the jeans doesn’t help expand the LOHAS market base much. But, adding a third hand here, promoting a company doesn’t necessarily improve awareness of an issue, which in the  case of the jeans would be intense pesticide use on cotton and sweatshop labor. That’s theoretically what this blog is for (among the hundreds of similar blogs out there).

All this just to decide if I should “like” the companies that I purchase from on Facebook. I think I think too much! What do you think? 🙂

Posted November 18, 2011 by mayakey in conscious living, money, musings, shopping

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The Reformulation Curse   Leave a comment

One of the annoyances about trying to buy products that are “green” is that it requires eternal vigilance. There’s no such thing as brand loyalty because small changes can make a product no longer acceptable by whatever criteria you are using. Successful small businesses get bought up by large corporations to cash in on the LOHAS movement, and sometimes the board/governance/mission of the small company get watered down. Or compromises are made in order to grow a business larger. Or other companies/brands start producing products that meet the criteria better. In any case, label reading and general awareness is absolutely necessary. Lately I’ve encountered several instances where this is an issue.

The first instance was the body lotion that I have been using since getting my engagement tattoo. For years it was the only lotion at Whole Foods that does not contain aloe (aloe should never be applied on a tattoo), and thankfully it was also almost unscented. Sometimes I think I am the only person on the planet who cannot stand scented soaps, lotions, etc. So after years of using this lotion, I suddenly couldn’t stand the smell. When I looked on the label in the ingredients was the dreaded “fragrance”, which may indicate a soup of toxic chemicals (like phthalates). After an email exchange I know that it was not a reformulation, although that leaves me with no explanation for why my experience changed. I had never given the ingredients list too hard a look before since it was my only aloe-free option. As luck would have it, around the same time Whole Foods started carrying another aloe-free lotion. This one really is unscented and is made with fair trade shea as well. Score! Time for a lotion change.

The second instance was triggered by receiving a sample of Tom’s of Maine Wicked Fresh! Cool Peppermint toothpaste. When I read the ingredients I did not find “peppermint oil” like I find on the particular formulations of Tom’s toothpaste that I typically buy, instead I found “natural flavors”! “Natural flavors” can mean almost anything, and not always “natural”. This was a big red flag for me as Tom’s is on the watch list since being acquired by Colgate-Palmolive in 2006. I submitted an email question/comment/complaint online and received the assurance that they are still doing business independently as always but that their flavor blends are proprietary. Whatever, I’m not convinced. They have other toothpastes that list out all of the flavor oils, and it’s not exactly secret to have peppermint oil in peppermint toothpaste, unless they are not using real peppermint oil. So Tom’s is on my out list now. I just need to find replacement products, which is really annoying.

The third instance was a purchase of a replacement tube of calendula ointment, which we use fairly often. It took me forever to find it on the shelves while grocery shopping since it had been moved, so I didn’t look closely at the label at the time. Until the first time I used it and discovered that the brand reformulated and now uses a base of white petrolatum. I take issue with this for several reasons. The first is that I have been taught, for as long as I can remember, that putting Vaseline on a burn can make it worse because it traps heat in the skin. Since we use calendula ointment for treatment of sunburns, that limits the use of the product until long after the burn has already started to heal. The second is that I prefer to use vegetable oils–oils that are organic in the sense that they came directly from a living organism–rather than petroleum products on my skin. Unfortunately, I don’t know where else to buy calendula ointment, but before this long spring ends and the summer sun and sunburn season starts I need to find a replacement.