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Vancouver’s ‘Bright Green Future’ looking pretty dull.

January 15th, 2010 · 5 Comments


I stood dumbstruck, looking at the latest poster campaign for our Green Capital campaign. Type only, a headline with no direct involvement for the reader, copy with no specifics, and generic web addresses buried at the bottom as a half-hearted call-to-action. How did such a dull poster possibly get made with these ingredients:
1) Vancouver – jewel of the Pacific Northwest, a city many say is the most beautiful on earth.
2) A bold new vision from our City Council aiming to make us  ‘The Greenest City in the World’ by 2020.
3) Hundreds of individuals, businesses, and events that are already getting us well on our way.
4) A creative community bristling with under-recognized designers, artists, marketers most of whom (yours truly included) who would give up some very useful left parts of their anatomy to help tell this story.

Now, I don’t want to throw stones at anyone’s work. I have certainly turned out my fair share of turds, driven by deadline, client intransigence, surplus of alcohol and/or lack of caffeine. But is this really the best we can do to inspire our citizens and get them involved?

My regular Green Briefs readers will know that I firmly believe it is easier to criticize than create. It is therefore my practice to provide some solutions along with the brickbats. (In fact, in an earlier blog post on the Green Capital Campaign I offered several ideas for engaging the public in this worthy vision) So once again, unasked and unpaid, I humbly offer a few suggestions for Mayor Gregor and my hard-working colleagues at the City of Vancouver.

Green Briefs Marketing Recommendation

1) Be specific. State some goals. The Green Capital report is full of bold, visionary specifics that are much more intriguing than the generic and somewhat hazy ‘Bright Green Future’. Use them.


2) Recognize people who are already doing their part. Like maybe, Oh I don’t know… transit riders???!! Extend the Green Capital branding with the term ‘Green Capitalist’ to engage our citizens. (Note that it is quite possible to make a successful type-only campaign if there is no budget for visuals. The copy just has to work harder)


3) Paint a visual picture of the future. Let people imagine what being a ‘Green Capital’ would be like. Tease them with some specific parts of the plan. In all cases, make the call-to-action bolder and specific to this campaign. That way not only will people find answers to these specific issues with one click, you will be able to track the campaign’s success.


So there you have it. A few short hours with Photoshop, Google Images and a PDF copy of the Green Capital report is all it takes. Call me.

Tags: Green Creative · Green Points of View · Green Politics · Sustainable Lifestyle · Unicycle Case Studies

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Adam Abrams // Jan 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Nice work, Lorne! The city should be red-faced about this green campaign.

    Also catching up on your earlier blog posts… it’s been more about the Twitter links for me last couple of months. Really insightful stuff.

    And I smiled when I saw that your lucky winner of the iPod was none other than aRno! Too funny.

    All the best and stay green,

  • 2 No BS // Jan 25, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Maybe the posters are dull because the message is full of dung. How on earth did these folks elected in Metro Vancouver think that building $500,000,000 taxpayer funded Garbage Burning Incinerators and somehow selling it as (LOL) Zero Waste would or should look like? I suspect knowing what we know now, Reverend Jim Jones wanting to sell his message way back when might have also had drab dull posters as well. Burning the planet is not how we get to Zero Waste. And “drinking the Kool-Aide” is not how ya get to heaven! How about”Getting to Zero Waste with no B.S.” Funny thing, when you actually look at Zero Waste web sites and speak with Zero Waste professionals and experts, Metro Vancouver’s version of Zero Waste compared next to what ZW really looks like, maybe the poster should read, “Zero Waste in Metro Vancouver, Cheap and Easy. Any elected official that thinks building incinerators is a good idea should be tossed next election. Especially the ones who keep referring to the “science” showing polluting the air-shed is somehow good for us and the planet. We are being asked once again to “drink the Kool-Aide”. Do your own research? There is no burning with ZW!

  • 3 admin // Jan 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Thanks, ‘No BS’! I agree that ‘waste-to-energy’ is not ‘zero waste’. Let’s hope we can mobilize the fight against these garbage burners and make better product design, recycling and resource recovery the way to the future!

  • 4 No BS // Jan 26, 2011 at 7:05 am


    I could not agree with you more. As more and more of our fellow Canadians have discovered, many levels of our government have become quite dysfunctional. On one hand, these levels of government have to be “fiscally conservative”. But on the other hand, billions of our, I must repeat this part, “OUR” tax dollars are funding pie in the sky boon-doggle trial and error projects that are often supported by “junk science”. What it really comes down to is some of our elected officials who’s pals and buddies hatch these goofy plans together, not to serve their constitutes but to fulfill some favor or back room deal that is more often then not ego driven, are serving their own self interests. One of the most beautiful places on earth, Vancouver BC is now being viewed as going backwards to try make energy from burning garbage. How does a wacky idea like this see the light of day? And it must be noted, who is promoting this. If your elected representative supports building taxpayer funded Garbage Burning Incinerators, then the proof that this is safe must be brought forth, no? In any burning situation, the source of fuel must be monitored and regulated. But the feedstock is garbage. Each scoop full dumped into the burner will not be the same. So how do toxic emissions going up the stack get safely screened out? The source is always changing. And all that toxic ash, where does that go to? Thanks Green Briefs for the opportunity to share with your readers what Metro Vancouver is trying to do. For our children’s sake, should we not error on the side of safety? Zero Waste is not achieved by pasting up fancy (or dull) posters. This reminds me of the old commercials boldly stating “4 out of 5 doctors recommend smoking these” types of cigarettes. The line is long to find some “expert” willing to sell us all out to get a payday. We need to inform ourselves.

  • 5 No BS // Feb 2, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Green Briefs. Am hearing from lots of Zero Waste advocates being “excluded” from Metro’s Zero Waste Scam (oops conference) in March. Micro managing wasting has brought us to the brink of building factories for incineration. Now, this too will be micro managed from the top down to create a Metro Vancouver faux Zero Waste conference that has nothing to do with promoting Zero Waste. How about a Zero BS conference, learning and sharing how community Zero Waste works around the world and in other communities? It’s a stacked deck, a rigged card game. And our environment and taxpayers will be the worse for it. These ZW posters are the tip of the iceberg! WTE is taxpayer funded snake oil.

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