The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Honda Goes Blue, Green, Whatever

Posted by keith on May 9th, 2008

Honda Tote Bags Not Advertising At All

A golden rule I have on The Unsuitablog is, regardless of the target of an item, I will not shy away from saying what I think — and I will also ensure this is backed up by facts on the ground, in the air, water, wherever.

When a company, authority, charity etc. tries to pull the wool over my eyes, I will make sure I find out the truth, and not pull any punches with my opinions. If a company etc. is honest with me (after 25 years of buying and selling stuff, It’s easy to tell) I will just lay down the facts, and go easy on the opinion.

So, in this case, my only comment is: “Who are they trying to kid?”

On Saturday I received an e-mail from Kristin, representing a group of Honda dealers in California:

Hi Keith,

I am interested in speaking with you about the editorial content of your blog. We are the PR/Marketing agency representing the So Cal Honda Dealers Association, who has launched a new initiative for the Honda Helpful campaign, Honda Blue Goes Green. This new initiative goes hand in hand with this month’s environmental theme and would be a great fit with your website!

Please find attached the press release on the initiative. This new eco-friendly initiative is one of the many ways the So Cal Honda Dealers are unexpectedly helping the local residents, whether they’re handing out waters, hand wipes, helping people with their purchases or walking people to their cars with umbrellas on a rainy day. The community has responded really well to the Helpful teams and is always pleasantly surprised by their unexpected helpfulness. Again, we think this initiative is a perfect fit with your website!

I’d love to speak with you further about this great new initiative helping local residents become more eco-friendly! Please let me know if you have any questions or need any additional information. Feel free to email me or call!

Kristin Baker

I responded:

Dear Kristen

This is greenwash of the highest order. All of the examples you mention are encouraging people to drive more: exactly how is this “eco-friendly”?!

I’m sure your Tote Bag hasn’t got a Honda advert on it, has it?

And what about those wonderfully environmentally friendly vehicles you are selling. I picked out the first one on the web site’s list: the Odyssey ( 20 miles per gallon: that is a complete pile of excrement. But it’s ok, because you are helping people plant trees — and, of course, telling people not to drive…no?

You’ve never read my web site, have you? Try this, and see if it fits with your plan: So, of course I will featuring your campaign with pleasure — on The Unsuitablog:

Best wishes

Maybe I’m getting grumpy and cynical in my old age (well, there’s no “maybe” about it) but she did say it would be, “a perfect fit with your website”. Just not the one she was thinking of. To give her credit, she was polite in return:

Dear Keith,

I’m sorry if you misunderstood the message behind the Hobda [sic.] Helpful campaign. The Helpful teams are out in the field helping the local community in unexpected ways, not asking people to buy Honda vehicles.

The same goes for the Honda Blue Goes Green campaign. The Guys and Girls in Blue hand out reusable grocery totes at recycling centers, grocery stores and farmer’s markets to all customers, not just people with Hondas! And, with each reusable tote So Cal Honda Dealers Association will plant a tree in the recipients name for free, without asking them to buy a car but help replenish acres of forest land destroyed by fires.

I understand if you don’t feel the campaign is  right for your blog, but I’d appreciate the chance to explain the message behind the Helpful campaign a bit further, before you post it as unsuitable.

Thank you for your time.

Kristin Baker

I didn’t misunderstand the message, but I thought I’d give her a chance:

Ok, just three questions:

1) Do the Tote Bags have “Honda” or a Honda logo on them?

2) Do the people being helped out know that the helpers are employed by Honda dealers?

3) Why did you want me to mention your current campaign on my blog?


I even chased her up last night for a response, so I could get the full picture. Here it is:

Hello Keith,

In answer to your question, when the Guys and Girls in Blue approach customers, they initially ask if they would like to receive a reusable grocery bag, and when the recipient says “Yes. Thank you” the teams respond with “You’re welcome; It’s our job to be helpful at Honda!”

I have attached an image of the tote bags for your reference.

And finally, we contacted you to see if you were interested in posting items that let readers know about the different ways businesses are encouraging local communities to become environmentally friendly.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or need anything else!

Kristin Baker

Thank you Kristin; no more questions.

One Response to “Honda Goes Blue, Green, Whatever”

  1. The Sietch Blog » Honda Goes Blue, Green, Whatever Says:

    […] [Read the rest at The Unsuitablog…] […]

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