Marketing and communication are key to success yet our choices of sustainable media to deliver these messages are limited. Enter the fast growing new industry sector know as Natural Media.
It's an industry comprised of dedicated and brave entrepreneurs who are often operating in a legal grey zone not because our cities do not embrace Natural Media but simply because it is so new, they don't know how to regulate it. New ideas bumping up against old systems a sign of true innovation!
This grey area has not stopped brands such as Nike, Heineken, Sony, LR, Becks, KEEN, Starbucks and many other international brands from using them. Nor has it stopped local governments which provide about 20% of the business. In fact, Natural Media companies have placed thousands of messages for large brands, SMEs, NGOs and governmental institutions in countries around the world.
Natural Media uses many sustainable techniques such as reverse graffiti which literally washes communication messages out of the dirt using only water, templates and a power washer (no ink, no paper and very little waste), sand printing, moss ads, Milk Paint and chalk just to mention a few.
Traditional outdoor advertising is particularly unsustainable with outdoor media companies in Europe alone consuming 3 million square metes of paper each week. In one year that is enough to wrap our planet with a one meter wide piece of paper 3.9 times! (average life cycle 12 days)
Natural Media is an new alternative that helps advertisers lower their environmental foot print and helps them match their own sustainable ambitions while adding brand value and building relationships with consumers.
This new industry comprised of over 100 companies and growing is not out to eliminate traditional outdoor advertising, it too plays a role providing cities with street furniture and badly needed revenue via advertising fees but it is out to challenge the traditional outdoor industry to do better and to begin providing more sustainable choices.
Advertising can play a positive role. In fact, given its expertise in getting people to try new things and reinforcing that behaviour, we hope to see it begin to join the discussion.
Natural Media helps advertises add brand value, engage consumers and is proving to provide a great return on advertising investment as it is often spread by consumers via social media authentically. (Peer to peer)
Any thing new takes time to become established. Understanding what Natural Media is and how to use it to its fullest potential will take time. It's about creating awareness of the huge negative impact traditional media choices have on our environment and educating about how it can be dramatically reduced.
There are alternatives for advertisers and soon there will be regulations that allow this industry to operate legitimately and to flourish. To the credit of our cities, rarely have they stopped this industry from using the pubic space even though the mechanisms for collecting advertising fees for these messages have yet to be established.
It is possible for advertisers to use media that matches their sustainable ambitions. You might want to watch this brave new industry and perhaps give it a try yourself.
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