Attack The Ingredient Not The Brand – Is Burt’s Bees’ New Campaign On The Right Track?

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burts-bees-ad.jpgBurts Bees and their corporate parent, Clorox, will launch a new advertising campaign this month :

Burt’s Bees will debut a breakthrough advertising campaign, “Natural Vs.” in early February 2008. Created to address confusion among consumers over what constitutes a truly natural product, …each (ad will) depict the difference between benefits of natural ingredients in Burt’s Bees products vs. the surprising — even shocking — ingredients found in non-natural personal care products.

The two ads are specific in naming ingredients found in competitive products. The lip balm ad defines petroleum, found in many lip care products, as a “nonrenewable hydrocarbon made from crude oil… sometimes used to stop corrosion on car batteries.”

Wow!

“All we want is to focus on educating the consumer,” said Mike Indursky, the firm’s chief marketing and strategic officer. “We have no intention at all to impugn the integrity of any other brand. All the ingredients named in the ads are [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] approved, but they shouldn’t be in products that call themselves natural.”

This has of course created a buzz across the web and beyond. The Greenwash Brigade at American Public Media says:

Good for Burt’s Bees who has decided to “show one ingredient vs. another ingredient,” rather than attacking other brands… personal care products are the least regulated FDA products on the market.

However those in the industry question this new approach. Retailwire wonders:

It’s not unusual for one brand to claim superiority over another using comparative advertising. In the case of the new ad campaign from Burt’s Bees, however, there is a twist in that the brand points out the differences in the ingredients of competing products without mentioning them by name. Is Burt’s Bees on the right track with its new ad campaign? Is drawing attention to specific “natural” ingredients wise?

What impact will this have on advertising and marketing by eco-entrepreneurs? Will you change your strategy? Will this help or hurt your efforts to promote your brand?

What do you think?

Related posts: Who Owns Your Favorite Organic Brand?

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