In the “What the Hell?” category, I came across a banner ad yesterday for GMC’s new Sierra Hybrid pickup truck on über green site It wasn’t the ad placement that puzzled me, although I’m curious about the environmental site’s need for cash flow. It was the ad.


Here’s the gist of the ad:

  • FRAME ONE:  Close-up of tree trunk in lovely forest with the words: Hug It.
  • ANIMATION: Tree trunk falls over as it’s cut down with the words: Or Haul It.
  • ANIMATION: Tree gets hauled off to reveal hero shot of GMC Sierra Hybrid truck

This banner ad raised several questions for me:

  1. Does GMC really think its truck driving market is visiting a green website like
  2. Is there a substantial market for hybrid trucks with LOHAS targets? Recent studies by the Natural Marketing Institute may suggest not.
  3. Can environmentalists and loggers party in the same bar?
  4. Is this an inside joke between GMC and their blue collar brethren at the expense of the green consumer?
  5. Does feature the ad banners on its homepage as an ironic twist to their message, or do they just need the money?
  6. Which company, GMC or, is getting the last laugh?

This just seems to be a very odd partnership, and one that, in my humble opinion, furthers consumer cynicism towards green washing. I got such a big kick out of this bizarre pairing of advertiser and media that I started to do more digging on green marketing gaffs.  You’ll love some of the initial stuff I found, which will be fodder for future posts.  So much so, that I’ve included a new category on my blog: Green Marketing Gaffs.

What green marketing gaffs have you seen out there? Please share as I would love to post them in my new hall of shame (or is it “sham”?)


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