April 27, 2010
By Bruce Horovitz
Earth Day is supposed to be about leaving a smaller footprint.
But in the name of saving the Earth, there are all kinds of freebies being doled out Thursday by some of the most familiar brand names.
Disney Stores is giving out "eco" caps. Pottery Barn Kids is giving free plants. Stonyfield Farm is offering free MP3 downloads. Wegmans is handing out reusable bags. Walgreens is offering $1 ink printer cartridge refills. And Burt's Bees is doling out smoothies and costume beards.
There's irony to this, says Daniel Howard, marketing professor at Southern Methodist University. "They're celebrating the Earth and nature by producing goods that require the use of natural resources to make," he says. Even then, he says, it's brilliant marketing. "An association does not have to be logical to work — it only has to be favorable."
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