Kenneth Hill | 11.10.10
Yeo Valley busted out its £5 million advertising campaign this weekend, slotting in an ad on X-Factor that features rapping farmers putting the cool in sustainability, things organic and Yeo Valley, the UK's largest organic brand.
The new rap ad knocks one out of the park: a smart, funny, catchy, unexpected spot, placed on the top-rated TV show in the UK, posted online and poised for viral sharing. The song and the rapping farmers are irresistibly fun (you can download the ringtone), and will go a long way in giving a whole new rap to sustainably produced, organic food.
The four young farmers - plus extras including Yeo Valley staff, their cows and an awesome owl known as Ted -- serve as the hippest ambassadors ever for the West Country and Yeo's suite of organic products.
"Our farmers aren’t rapping about their bling, girls and fast cars but instead about our cows, tractors and wax jackets — matters a little bit closer to home," blogs Ben Cull, head of brand marketing at Yeo Valley, on the company's new interactive web site.
Yeo's new site sports links to their presence across social media platforms (profiles at twitter.com/yeovalley, Facebook, and "YeoTube"), plus personable and accessible video clips featuring founder Mary Mead, and son Tim who runs the Blagdon-based, family-owned dairy farm that prides itself on being a "real place" working in harmony with nature.
Admirably, Yeo Valley has a strong commitment to maintaining a low-carbon footprint, too. For example, their new pots are 100% recyclable and made from 80% recycled material, they use green energy to run the dairies and they employ double-decker trailers to move more product which results in fewer lorries and less fuel.
Bottom line: this ad is a true winner.
PS: It won't hurt the image of the Young Farmers' Clubs either. Peace out.
Kenneth Hill | 13.05.11
All of us at Greenhouse are really inspired by these biodegradable packaging designs (with built-in seeds!) from young designer Ben Huttley of Bournemouth. He writes:
"Through experimentation and innovation I have developed a form of packaging that is 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable. If the packaging is discarded it will have a positive effect on the environment due to the seed embedded biodegradable paper. The twine used to secure the product and label is natural cotton and 100 percent biodegradable. The labels themselves have been produced using a laser cutting machine. This eliminates the use of harmful printing ink, as well as giving the packaging an esthetically pleasing organic look and feel. "
Find out more on Ben's blog.
In case you missed them, these are the stories that caught our attention this week:
A group of businesses, politicians and green campaigners are calling on David Cameron to act in the battle over government's climate change targets, which threaten the UK's future emissions cuts. From Fiona Harvey & T.Macalister at the Guardian http://gu.com/p/2p2ty/tf
Mr. Cameron also got dinged big time by Jonathon Porritt and a group of other environmentalists who said the likelihood of the government living up to the promise made almost a year ago was "vanishingly remote." http://gu.com/p/2zqd2/tw
We loved the tweet from @robintransition letting us know that climate scientists are mad and are now rapping about it! http://youtu.be/LiYZxOlCN10
Vibrant energy flows? Who knew. Very interesting piece from @sustahood on re-imagining and renewing society based on vibrant energy flows http://bit.ly/m9uHSx
3 June 2011 is the deadline to enter the @SoilAssociation Association Organic Food Awards. An expert panel of judges including chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and specialists, celebrity foodies and others will award the best organic products across 12 categories to create greater public awareness of the values of organic production, positive food culture, and the range and quality of organic food and drink available. http://bit.ly/iS55SE
Our media specialist Sophie Rivett-Carnac is a bit obsessed about packaging (ok, we all are) and loved the Sunday Times business story about a new type of corrugated box from DS Smith that provides "the same strength as run-of-the-mill models but with less material." (paywall) http://thetim.es/kXGmbY
Greta Jonyniate | 16.03.12
Something has ruffled Jonathan Franzen’s feathers. Its Twitter. According to the award winning, best selling novelist,
“Twitter stands for everything I oppose... It’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters…It’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring 'The Metamorphosis.' Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’… It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium. People I care about are readers—particularly serious readers and writers—these are my people. And we do not like to yak about ourselves.”
Franzen made this outburst whilst giving a talk at a university in New Orleans. How has the Twitter public reacted? They’ve turned Franzen into a hash tag: #JonathanFranzenhates.
The ironies of this Old Media Vs. New Media stand off are striking. A novelist who spends his time advocating thoughtful reading and a careful understanding of different points of view makes flippant generalisations about thousands of people. And the users of the attacked social media network , which thrives on making connections with people, responds to by ridiculing their fuddy duddy attacker. Media, red in pen and tweet, it seems.
Is it too late for consolidation between Franzen and the blue bird that is Twitter? The irony is that Franzen is a well known twitcher. He has written extensively about birds and his bird watching habit, and the (blue tinted) Cerulean Warbler is a plot device in his novel Freedom. Franzen clearly loves the natural world and especially loves our feathered friends. But his prejudice regarding new technology has blinded him to its potential. Anything, bird watching included, can find a community on Twitter. Simply searching bird watching on wefollow.com shows 25 Twitter users with thousands of followers each. The RSPB, @natures_voice, is anything but irresponsible: many of their tweets encourage environmental campaigning and advocate policy change to protect the natural world. @Natures_Voice has over 24,414 followers, each follower being brought into a wider bird watching community that is not bound by place or time. And this can very helpful:
“David Crump @daveboy79
http://flic.kr/p/bm1MYj can any help with the ID I think this is a common gull. @_BTO @BirdWatchingMag @Natures_Voice
Bird Watching Bird Watching @BirdWatchingMag
@daveboy79 You're spot-on. Common Gull”
Equally, Twitter users have lived up to Franzen's expectations by allowing a irreverant hash tag to become a key trend.
It doesn’t take an English Literature degree to draw out Franzen’s character from his brief Twitter remarks. Kafka wouldn’t use video. You can’t create an argument in 140 characters. Franzen, like many Old Media practioners, is stuck with a top-down and one-way bias. The author demands your attention, so pay attention and don‘t answer back. Franzen cares about readers - not community members.
The other irony is that the environmental movement Franzen clearly loves can only work if it features widespread and willing community participation. To use an example from Franzen’s book: domestic cats kill millions of song birds every year. Does an author like politician edit out cats through bureaucratic laws? No one would vote for that politician. Or does the politician engage with the community to discuss and advocate that people help deal with the problem? Or how can an ethical consumer in England speak in solidarity with a Maldivian citizen who is scared that she will see her homeland washed away? A retweet or an @mention isn’t perfect, but it is a start.
Let’s hope that Franzen learns the lesson. Like a technophobic dad who laboriously still clicks on File then Save, Franzen needs Twitter to be the tech savy child that rolls its eyes and then suggests clicking Ctrl+S.
Richard Lemmer | 01.07.12
Proving that Twitter is more than just #JustinBieber, last week the Guardian created a list of the top sustainable business tweeters. And since everyone loves lists, we thought we‘d create our own - Greenhouse's Top Twitter Accounts for Sustainable Businesses. The accounts listed below are those who we follow on Twitter that regularly show more insight with 140 characters than others show with 140 words. Follow them, check out their websites and be prepared for them to become a stable part of your social media updates.
Forum for the Future - @Forum4theFuture
Forum for the Future are an independent non-profit working globally with business and government to create a sustainable future. Take part in one of their online events by visiting their website.
Divine Chocolate - @divinechocolate
Tweets from Rosanna and Charlotte at Divine Chocolate: the only Fairtrade chocolate company 45% owned by cocoa farmers. Find out more about their unique setup at on their website.
Carbon Leapfrog - @leapfrognews
Carbon Leapfrog provides free professional services to climate change projects. Since the business was set up in April 2010, it has helped over 30 projects overcome hurdles to growth - click here to find out how.
Triodos - @triodosuk
Banking for people and the planet, Triodos is the world’s leading sustainable bank, making money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change. Visit their website to learn how your money could be more ethical.
Cafedirect - @Cafedirect_HQ
Flying the flag for finely-crafted tea, coffee and cocoa sourced directly from smallholder growers. Visit their website to learn more about how Cafedirect is helping coffee farmers all over the world.
Lush Cosmetics Ltd. - @LushLtd
Lush Fresh Handmade cosmetics, we make products from fresh organic fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics. Browse their sensuous and sustainable range here.
Good Energy - @Good_Energy
Good Energy is the UK's only 100% renewable electricity supplier. Visiting www.goodenergy.co.uk will tell you how they have achieved this impressive goal.
Abundance Generation - @AbundanceGen
Making it possible for ordinary people to invest in and feel ownership of renewable energy production - they call it 'democratic finance.’ Find out how you can invest by visiting their website.
Damian Carrington - @dpcarrington
Damian Carrington is head of environment at the Guardian. His profile can be found here.
Howard Johns - @howardjohns
Founder and MD of @Southern_Solar, Director of the Solar Trade Association and of @OVESCo - a locally owned energy company. Visit Southern Solar here.
Business Green - @businessgreen
The UK's leading web site for green business news and analysis. Stay up to date by visiting here.
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