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Greenwashing your kids: Advertisers target green parents

Cigarette manufacturer Reynolds American Inc. recently released a new ad campaign for its American Spirit line, touting the eco-friendliness of the brand. The ads boast that the company uses recycled paper, electric hand dryers and ceramic mugs instead of paper towels and disposables cups. It even goes as far as to point out that their sales team drives hybrids. Thankfully it stops short of saying that America Spirits are a healthier cigarette than non-green alternatives, but the message is pretty clear: if you smoke and care about the environment, American Spirit is the brand for you.

Hopefully most people will recognize these ads for what they are, a green tinted smoke screen devised to push an otherwise unhealthy product. But regardless of the campaign’s success, the fact that these ads exist at all says a lot about how the eco movement influences people’s buying habits. If something as unhealthy as tobacco is rebranding itself as green, then it’s safe to assume that phony green marketing has infiltrated other markets as well.

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