Archives for category: Sustainability

Legend has it, Clark Gable took off his top in 1934’s It Happened One Night, revealing a naked chest, and the men’s underwear industry lost its shirt.

And so, product placement was born (more or less).

These days, product placement is a must-have (oh no – is there a Mazda in The Lorax?) — Even the sustainable industries are getting into the act – lookie here

Point is, any company or industry, as long as it does so authentically (honestly), should tell its own story by leveraging other media with similar values, to reach its target.

~ Christopher Smith


Hollywood has long taken liberties in movie-izing books. Few take umbrage any more – why would they? Film is, after all, a quite different medium than text and cannot portray “word-for-word” the author’s original ideas. Cannot and therefore should not be expected to.

But there’s movie0making and then there’s movie-promoting. And here’s where Disney has screwed the pooch on The Lorax: (I have not seen the movie btw) – – in its effort to secure corporate sponsorship to make additional money / defray costs, Disney has obliterated the book’s original intent by co-opting sponsors such as Mazda of which the author would clearly disapprove.

It’s a classic case of greenwashing, and in this case – maybe an emotional connection to the author and this beloved story, and the children who will see the film and experience this dark-side of marketing – I feel it’s callow and obscene.

There’s no way in hell that Suess would have allowed Mazda as a sponsor of this story. It’s ridiculous.

I think this post sums up the conundrum, and the storytelling lesson, quite well.

~ Christopher Smith

Here’s a good use for the word gobsmacked:

Issey Miyake’s genius continues to extend the distance between him and all other clothing designers.

Is anyone else in the industry doing this:

…or telling a STORY like this:

“The process by which the clothing is made is groundbreaking, using a mathematical algorithm: first, a variety of three-dimensional shapes are conceived in collaboration with a computer scientist; then, these shapes are folded into two-dimensional forms with pre-set cutting lines that determine their finished shape; and finally, they are heat-pressed, to yield folded shirts, skirts, dresses etc. These clothes are significant not only for the process by which they were made but because they are also made using recycled PET products, sometimes in combination with other recycled fibers.”


~Christopher Smith

A few years back I had passed the audition (done successful freelance work and been hired full time) at a startup financing firm in Portland, Oregon called Portland Family of Funds. My first assignment: write a speech for the Mayor to deliver about a project that was intended to define green building, historic rehabilitation and support of the arts through innovative financing.

Simple enough?

Wish this TED talk had been available at the time – – check out the brilliant Nancy Duarte
 (perhaps I should revisit the speech and see how I fared?)

~ Christopher Smith

I’ve been coaching youth sports for some time now, and one phrase that keeps coming up (though I think it’s wasted on the youth) is “Character Counts.” It’s a phrase that resonates deeply during this political season, as the candidates flip themselves inside out trying to seem sincere (Today, Rick Perry had the nerve to use a postcard as a prop for his “simplify the tax code” pitch – does he think we’ve all forgotten that Steve Forbes did this just a few years back?)

And so it resonates during this depression we’re technically not in – character counts. As an Apple junkie from the get-go, I dig the designs and respect the pricing of all the iTrinkets. The character of their products can’t be denied. Can’t help loving MontBlanc writing instruments.

But in my mind, no one comes close – never has – to Patagonia. Their new campaign”Don’t Buy This Shirt Unless You Need It” is perhaps the most profound environmental statement ever from a company that will perish if people don’t buy their stuff.

The Patagonia logic: if our business does not do everything possible to reduce pollution, climate change, environmental degradation, and a contributor to many of these issues: excess consumption, then our business SHOULD cease. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

From the Patagonia website: “We design and sell things made to last and to be useful. But we ask our customers not to buy from us what you don’t need or can’t really use. Everything we make – everything anyone makes – costs the planet more life than it gives back. The biggest, first step we can all take to reduce our impact is to do more with what we have….”

I fully respect and admire Patagonia for betting its very existence that customers will be more loyal than ever to a company that so fully shares its values. Bravo!

~ Christopher Smith

Assuming you own a home – not guaranteed these days, then when you’re ready to make the leap(s) into energy efficiency in your home, you may consider this article in Fast Company, which is still a great pub and one of the few survivors of Silicon Valley Boom 1.0.

Greenowners, let this graphic be your guide.


~ Christopher Smith