Ideas Too Good To Waste.™
       
     
Mable (R.I.P.)
       
     
Proud To Be Austin's Ambassador For The Feast.
       
     
Good For Something. A Talent Thingy.
       
     
Alto Arizona (R.I.P.)
       
     
Sociotones (R.I.P.)
       
     
Code Name: Competitive Volunteerism
       
     
You're Soaking In It: Don't Act Green. Be Green. Act Pop.
       
     
       
     
“No, That’s Unnecessary” Instead Of “No, Thank You”?
       
     
Bring Back The Half Shirt. Lose The Belly.
       
     
Give. Don't Spend.
       
     
Trash Day Could Be The Most Exciting Day Of The Week.
       
     
Idea Found In Discarded Fast Food Container.
       
     
You Made The Right Choice. Now What?
       
     
This Earth Day, Let’s Trash This Mutha.
       
     
Ideas Too Good To Waste.™
       
     
Ideas Too Good To Waste.™

Half-baked or fully blown, brand-spankin' new or old school throwback, environmental or just plain mental, ideas are worthless unless they are set free from our hard drives. 

Mable (R.I.P.)
       
     
Mable (R.I.P.)

Made from sustainable bamboo, Mable is a single magazine table unit that can be added to, arranged, and used as a small to large coffee table or end table. The number of magazines, as well as the magazine cover graphics, allow you to create and recreate its overall shape and personality every time an issue is added or removed.

Proud To Be Austin's Ambassador For The Feast.
       
     
Proud To Be Austin's Ambassador For The Feast.

The Feast curates experiences, events, and content that encourage collaboration to create global change. Their mission is to produce collective action that uses people’s unique skill sets to change ourselves, each other, and the world for the greatest good.

Good For Something. A Talent Thingy.
       
     
Good For Something. A Talent Thingy.

Event/TV/Web concept centered around the cultural insight that everyone has a talent, let’s put them to good use, i.e. the charitable cause of your choice. Part America’s Got Talent meets fundraising Telethon but actually worth watching, the Good for Something Talent Thingy is a series of highly entertaining local events that would be filmed for primetime television, as well as have a massive online content component. Contestants would submit their charitable act, such as “A drum solo for Darfur”, online. Those with the most votes or money raised would be invited to perform on TV and raise even more funds via mobile texting, for example. Using multiple mediums not only means more fundraising opportunities but it also gives us more time to engage in the emotional backstory behind our contestants and their charities–reality television gold.

Alto Arizona (R.I.P.)
       
     
Alto Arizona (R.I.P.)

Several shoe concepts created for and worn and support of cultural diversity and the banning of Arizona's Immigration Law, SB 1070. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants.

What will officers be looking for?

'Chris Matthews: ...like what, like what? Give me a non-ethnic aspect that would tell you to pick up somebody.

Rep. Bilbray: They will look at the kind of dress you wear, there’s different type of attire-right down to the shoes, right down to the clothes. But mostly by behavior it’s mostly behavior, just as the law enforcement people here in Washington, DC does it based on certain criminal activity there is behavior things that professionals are trained in across the board and this group shouldn’t be exempt from those observations as much as anybody else.'

Seriously? Seriously! Turns out The Fashion Police are real. Dress accordingly.

ALTO ARIZONA SHOES were initiated by ecopop and designed by Option-G. Vans is not affiliated with this project.

Sociotones (R.I.P.)
       
     
Sociotones (R.I.P.)

Concept for a brand of charitable ringtones that not only sound good but also send a message and create conversation about socio, economic or environmental issues. And, in the process, provide charitable donations towards a particular cause.

It’s what making a positive difference in the world sounds like. And it’s the next evolution in popular social awareness badges, such as the red AIDS ribbon or the yellow Live Strong bracelet.

At the SocioTones website, users can get the full story behind each ringtone and the cause that it benefits. That way, when a person’s phone rings and someone comments, “Hey, cool ringtone,” they can educate them on the cause and what they can do to help.

Code Name: Competitive Volunteerism
       
     
Code Name: Competitive Volunteerism

People love to be competitive and people love to give back to their community. (Or, at least people love watching other people do these things.) Combining the two on a local and global level gives everyone a chance to challenge themselves to do more good than they’ve done previously, as well as compete to do more good than their neighbor. Competitive Volunteerism ups the ante and raises the bar on do-gooding. Because we could all do more good and give more back, faster. The online experience could be a lot like RecordSetter. You post a video of you doing something good for an individual, your community, or the world at large, and someone tries to beat it. Simple. The online community of voters would determine which global citizens the rest of us slackers should out do (good) as well as where your help is needed in the world. Don’t even get us started on the TV show possibilities.

You're Soaking In It: Don't Act Green. Be Green. Act Pop.
       
     
You're Soaking In It: Don't Act Green. Be Green. Act Pop.

Segregation is alive and well in the media and in the grocery store. 

There are websites, magazines, TV shows, and even TV channels devoted to the eco lifestyle. And there are mainstream media outlets that devote special columns, issues, episodes, and entire weeks to green themes. 

Similarly, there are retail stores that specialize in sustainable goods and there are others that might have a small section. In the grocery store, for example, green brands are often quarantined to the heath food aisle, or a specialty store altogether.

If you ask us, this is not the most efficient way to change the way people make and buy things. Instead all brands and branded content, ecological and not, must live side-by-side in order for consumers to compare and businesses to compete. And let's not forget the importance of discovery and the element of surprise. 

GREEN IS NOT THE CONVERSATION STARTER. 

No offense to Tom Cruise, but which would you rather attend: A FREE pancake breakfast? Or the Church of Scientology's Open House? Most people would choose the free pancake option when, in actuality, they are one and the same. The main difference is how the two options are marketed. 

Like Scientology, green comes with a lot of baggage. While the mainstream is becoming more and more aware of what it means to be green, there are also a lot of companies jumping on the green bandwagon. Few get it right. All contribute to what is quickly becoming known as "green fatigue". Because of these factors, and the niche, fringy ways that the majority of green brands are being marketed, green is quickly becoming a ubiquitous brand that is no longer ownable, especially when every brand walks and talks the same. Green, earthy colors. Nature imagery. Names with words like green, eco, natural, earth, world, blah, blah, blah. These are all dead giveaways and a huge warning sign to anyone who might not have any interest in green, are actually put off by it, or have a mountain of barriers to overcome, namely time, pressure, knowledge and price. 

MORE POP. LESS CRUNCH. 

Live Earth or Warped Tour? Guru or Red Bull? Seventh Generation or Method? Doesn't it make more sense to have a concert that appealed to the masses and then surprise them with an important message about global warming? Wouldn't a healthy energy drink sell more, thus having a greater positive impact, not only because it tasted good and worked, but also because it appealed to our pop culture sensibilities? Wouldn't more people do less harm if they bought cool, sexy hip brands that were unknowingly green? In other words, brands shouldn't act green. Instead, they should be green and act pop. 

Conscious consumers will seek out constructive brands. The rest of the world, however, would rather discover a company's story of sustainability through other means, like the list of ingredients, word-of-mouth, the news media, etc. Even if they don't, who cares? The world is still better for it. Take Method, for example. Their designer cleaning products are sold at Target as well as Whole Foods. While the green community buys Method products because they are green and sexy, there are still countless other people that buy Method products simply because they are sexier than any other cleaning products on the market. If Method was simply another Seventh Generation, they wouldn't have had the same appeal or impact on the world. 

The same approach can be applied to the media. How many NASCAR and WalMart consumers in middle America are going to tune into Discovery's Planet Green? Bor-ring. Instead, there needs to be a show on the Speed Channel, CBS or Cartoon Network, for example, which translates green in a way that they can identify with. 

LOOKS BETTER. DOES BETTER. MUST BE BETTER. 

Mainstream consumers don't want to have to seek out green alternatives. They simply want to go about their business the way they always have without compromising. Therefore, change needs to happen with business first. If consumers have to demand change in order for businesses to step up and do the right thing, it might be too late. 

In order for positive change to happen efficiently and on a global scale, business has to act as if they snuck into someone's house and replaced all the destructive products with sustainable ones. And without the homeowners knowing anything has changed— unless, of course, it's an improvement. In other words, the clothes have to look and feel the same way. The food has to taste just as good if not better. It has to have a comparable price point. (Do you really need to make that much profit?) And the design and communication has to be relevant. (FYI, don't hire green marketing and branding agencies.)

Consider things like world illiteracy, immigration, and media access. UNICEF estimates that more than 16% of the world population is unable to read and write in any language. One in five Americans speak a language other than English at home—which means they probably aren't reading Treehugger.com, either. It also means that they are probably unable to read things like instructions or warning labels. As a result, they unknowingly harm themselves and the environment with dangerous levels of harmful chemicals. If they were offered a safe product to begin with, there wouldn't be a problem. 

So, we ask, what's a faster solution? Making sure everyone on the planet is educated? Or creating responsible products to compete with the destructive ones? As seasoned entrepreneurs and mainstream marketers who can successfully create demand, influence and social currency for just about anything, we'd like to believe the latter. 

The race is on, folks. Those individuals and companies that align capitalism with their global responsibility will prevail. 

       
     
How A Peanut Butter Cup Can Change The World.

This is a reading of the 5-minute slide presentation I gave at SHIFT 7, an event to inform, inspire and engage peers, clients and students about sustainable design thinking and practices. (Click image to play video.)

“No, That’s Unnecessary” Instead Of “No, Thank You”?
       
     
“No, That’s Unnecessary” Instead Of “No, Thank You”?

We were raised to say “Please” and “No, thank you”. Lately, however, we’ve found ourself in a few situations where saying “No, thank you” not only seems dismissive or inappropriate but also like a missed opportunity. On a recent business trip, we were once again reminded of just how wasteful the airlines are with, among other things, their napkins. It doesn’t really matter if you’re going to order a drink, accept the free peanuts or not. Flight attendants are programmed to automatically hand everyone a napkin. The next time they come down the aisle, we’re supposed to hand back that perfectly good napkin and plastic cup so they can throw it away and hand us all fresh ones. Most people don’t think twice about this senseless act of waste while others refuse by politely saying “No, thank you”. But why are we thanking them? Is there a a quick, polite response to let flight attendants and other passengers know why were refusing the napkins? We came up with “No, that’s unnecessary.”  Granted, it may not be perfect but it’s been getting our point of view across while not coming across like a complete ecodick. Try it sometime.

Bring Back The Half Shirt. Lose The Belly.
       
     
Bring Back The Half Shirt. Lose The Belly.

What ever happened to the half shirt for men? In the 70's, half shirts were all the rage. As skinny and hairless preteens, we wore half shirts without ever giving a second thought to going out into public. Then again, this was before America became morbidly obese and our own metabolism decide to give up. (Or was it our will power?)

Today, like most "average" men, we wouldn't be caught dead in a half shirt. We'd be too embarrassed. And we'd be ashamed that we'd let ourselves go this far. Instead, we'd prefer to buy the full shirt, a baggy one, and try to fool everyone, including ourselves, that we don't need to change our poor eating and exercise habits. Perhaps if we forced ourselves to bare it all, or at least half of it, we'd be motivated to do something about it. 

Maybe Jenny Craig, Bally's Total Fitness or personal trainers could get in on the action and include a free half shirt with their membership. Actually, make that two shirts. One that has "Before" printed on the front. And another that says "After". 

"12 pack." / "6 pack." 

"Say goodbye to this belly. / I'm doing yoga now."

If everyone knew that those wearing the shirts weren't trying to make a fashion statement but a statement that they were making a serious effort to get healthy, perhaps onlookers would be more likely to give words of encouragement instead of dirty looks. 

 

 

 

Give. Don't Spend.
       
     
Give. Don't Spend.

In our not-so-distant previous life, we were asked to create a Super Bowl commercial for a company whose entire existence was based on donating money to a growing world epidemic. According to Fox, the average cost for a 30 second commercial was 2.7 millions dollars. And this is only to run the spot, not the production costs to create it. 

For a company that’s goal is to donate 10 million dollars in 5 years, it seemed like another marketing assignment lead by a media deliverable and not a problem or objective. 

To us, the real problem was spending any money on advertising, especially for the Super Bowl. We discovered that other brands within their parent company were creating Super Bowl commercials and this inspired a relevant solution:

Don’t buy any media space. Instead, have another brand spend their budget on a 29 second commercial, then donate the remaining second to you.

The desired result: The first-ever one-second Super Bowl commercial. No matter what we did in that one second – be it a photo with a web url or something slightly more creative, it was guaranteed to get free publicity and a drive traffic to a compelling story that has no business advertising. 

Did they do it? No. Can someone else learn from this missed opportunity? We sure hope so. 

 

 

 

Trash Day Could Be The Most Exciting Day Of The Week.
       
     
Trash Day Could Be The Most Exciting Day Of The Week.

When we lived in London, we use to walk from Hoxton to Shoreditch to get to and from work. Along the way, we'd see the usual boarded-up windows and construction barriers. One day of the week, we'd also notice heaps of garbage on the curbside--everything from plastic bags and cardboard boxes to furniture and home appliances. If we were lucky enough, not only might we catch a glimpse of the latest artwork from Dave The Chimp painted on them, we might end up walking home with it. 

Like many street artists, The Chimp seized an opportunity to make boring or naked spaces full of life and personality. Even better, however, was that fact that he was able to transform useless trash into valuable art that people would collect and display in their home or office. 

Trash is a medium artists should not overlook, especially if it is distributed freely or auctioned off for worthy causes. 

 

 

 

Idea Found In Discarded Fast Food Container.
       
     
Idea Found In Discarded Fast Food Container.

We admit it. On occasion, we go through the fast food drive-thru. We also order in and get take-away from time to time. And, when we do, we are always reminded of just how wasteful these companies all are and why we don’t ever do something about it. 

The other night we ordered from a vegan restaurant and they might have been the worst culprit we’ve ever experienced. Our order was packaged like a giant Faberge egg roll made from trash. Inside two plastic bags was a paper bag excessively stapled shut with yet another menu. Inside that, two aluminum foil-lined Styrofoam containers that were taped closed. Inside each of those, two plastic containers of eco-friendlier, health conscience food. But wait, there’s more. Don’t forget the plastic silverware, chopsticks, soy sauce, chili sauce, and napkins we didn’t ask for all wrapped in cling film. We nearly lost our appetite.  

The good news is that it got us problem solving again. Short of requesting the restaurant ease up on the excessive packaging or boycotting them, someone needs to create a business out of non-toxic bags and containers that can be re-used at fast food restaurants and for delivery. Anyone? Anyone? After all, people are slowly checking into plastic bag rehab and buying reusable canvas ones to take to the grocery store. Styrofoam is being banned in San Francisco. It’s only a matter of time before the restaurant industry is pressured into creating alternatives. 

From the money restaurant owners would save on supplies, customers could get discounts for bringing their own designer bags and containers or returning the ones they received from their last order. 

We’ve been toying with making small cards that people can hand to cashiers and delivery personnel to hand to management. Each humorous card would point out what is wrong with this common business practice and encourage alternatives. Unfortunately, it means using paper to do so. 

Any other bright ideas on how to solve this problem?

 

 

 

You Made The Right Choice. Now What?
       
     
You Made The Right Choice. Now What?

You bought the bamboo floor, the hempsilk blouse, and the hybrid car. Maybe, just maybe, because you liked the way they looked or they were on sale or some other reason that had little or nothing to do with the environment. 

Even if you made a conscious decision to pick the more responsible option, you still have to care for these new innovations. Chances are, if they come with care instructions, they're not unlike what your used to seeing on destructive products. 

"Wash cold, do not bleach, dry low." We get it already. 

For many of the same reasons you bought them in the first place, or maybe just because you don't know any better, you'll use the same old floor wax, laundry detergent and tire cleaner you always have. Doh!

It's not like it used to be. Now there are products that aren't like the others. Some play well with others. Others, need to hang out with their own kind. Just what we need, more confusion. 

Manufacturers should provide explicit care instructions that reflect their values. 

Don't just inform us to machine wash. Inform us to machine wash responsibly. After all, beer campaigns tell us to "Enjoy Responsibly", why can't all constructive brands. 

Cleaners could be informing us on what kinds of quality materials they go well with. Floors and counter tops could come with a list of recommended cleaning products. And so forth.

Perhaps brands could even team up. We've seen cookbooks that list brand names instead of generic ingredients. Why couldn't Seventh Generation form a strategic alliance with Loomstate? Or Prius with No Rise Wash & Shine? 

 

 

 

 

 

This Earth Day, Let’s Trash This Mutha.
       
     
This Earth Day, Let’s Trash This Mutha.

American’s throw away 4.5 pounds of trash a day yet it doesn’t seem to bother anyone, partly because they don’t see the problem. It’s just another empty statistic. 

Ever since the 70’s when we saw that TV commercial with that Native American crying over all the litter we created, we’ve been a lot better at keeping America beautiful. We’ve become used to people picking up after us when we don’t pick up after ourselves. Everyone puts their waste in a trash receptacle, the garbage truck comes along and whisks it all off to a so-called bottomless pit, and then the problem is solved. Trash only becomes a problem when we have to look at it, smell it, or compete with those nasty little creatures that feast on it. After all, out of site, out of mind, right? 

Out of our mind is right. We don’t have all the space in the world. Maybe not in your lifetime, but we will run out. Manhattan has. Their trash problem has now also become the problem their surrounding states’, where they must export.

We can’t just sweep all of our waste under the rug, or dump it in the ocean, and expect everyone to forget about it. Or can we? How big must the Pacific Garbage Patch get before people start to take notice of this toxic trash heap that is twice the size of Texas and floating in our ocean between San Francisco and Hawaii? Whose beautiful view must it obstruct before they do something about it? How ugly does American have to get before we realize that our Indian friend wasn’t crying over us littering but the fact that we are creating so much waste and pollution. 

The solution isn’t to hide it but to expose it. This Earth Day, we’re asking you to please litter. 

For one day only, April 22, we’d like you to show off your trash and everyone else’s. It’s time we summoned the great spirit of Iron Eyes Cody and took more ridiculous measures. Let’s trash this joint. 

Boycott trashcans. Hide trashcans. Overturn trashcans. Decorate trashcans. Put trash where everyone has no other choice but to see it. Have fun. Don’t preach doom and gloom. Make friends. Make art. No need to talk trash. Encourage others to get involved or just go about your business. All you have to do is focus on making Earth Day become the ugliest day of the year so we can inspire everyone to spend the other 364 days a year doing something about it. 

And don’t worry. Someone will pick it up, maybe even you. But first, let’s hope the media does. That way, they can explain to everyone what the Hell is wrong with this picture.