Earth Day Fail: The worst pitches of 2012

Another year, another Earth Day. Like a plague of cicadas (only more frequent and more devastating) this time of year brings us once again an inundation of marginally relevant, cynicism-inducing announcements tied to the one day of the year when, theoretically, a slightly larger slice of the American populace thinks about the state of the planet.

(Don't forget: The rest of the world, more or less, observes World Environment Day on June 5 -- a day that goes unobserved and beshrugged in the U.S.)

When will it all end? Is the question that we ask ourselves as the deluge of emails crests in mid-April -- after building for literally months and clogging our inboxes with more than 300 pitches distinctly tied to Earth Day / Earth Week / Earth Month.

Thankfully, Earth Season 2012 will be a long-distant memory come Monday, and we'll go back to business as usual: witnessing, and documenting, companies make actual progress on reducing their impacts, rather than watching the carpetbaggers try to make a buck off of 4/22.

This "Earth Day Fail" has become something of a tradition here at GreenBiz, a way to blow off steam and pop the cynicism balloon at the end of the silly season. For previous installments, see the following: 7 Earth Day Pitches That Made Us Cringe (2011), Earth Day Fail: Pitches that Miss the Mark (2010) and You're Doing it Wrong: Five Earth Day Pitches That Failed (2009).

And now, in no particular order, we are pleased (I think) to present the weirdest, most off-target, and just plain worst pitches from Earth Day (or Earth Week, or Earth Month, or Earth Year) 2012.

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below, or send us an email.

Shopping Your Way to Sustainability

I wish we didn't have to say this every year, but apparently we do -- and perhaps more so this year than ever before: Tying your sales strategy to Earth Day means you're part of the problem.

• Exhibit A: Eton Corporation is using Earth Day as the perfect time to promote its Soulra XL, because clearly the solution to our environmental problems is ... a solar-powered portable music player. For $250.

• There's only one other phrase that sets my teeth to grinding almost as much as "go green in time for Earth Day," and that's "make every day Earth Day." Though I didn't see it used as widely this year as in years past, we've got some helpful tips from one Dr. Fuhr who wants to "help individuals reduce their carbon footprint and preserve the environment for a sustainable future." Notable among those tips? "Consider purchasing necessary goods, gifts, books, etc. online rather than braving the mall."

• Speaking of "going green for Earth Day," Beverages & More (aka "BevMo!") has managed to achieve this feat -- by launching a partnership to recycle used wine corks into "stylish flip-flops."

• Underlying all of this ill-conceived marketing is the concept that shopping is a good way to spend your Earth Day, and that just because something's organic, it's an unqualified good. Exempli gratia: is touting a $200 organic hammock as just the thing that "moms-to-be" need to "go green." Sure, if you were planning to buy a baby-hammock anyway, organic is possibly better than not, but on the spectrum of needs... this just doesn't register.

• I'll just share the top of this pitch verbatim: "Celebrate Earth Day with the Flavor and Philosophy of Crave Brothers 'Green' Cheese." Produced with renewable energy? Yes. Appetizing? No.

Next page: Again with the trees