Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Give the Gift of Green

The City of Boston issued a press release last Friday encouraging people to make a donation to the Parks and Recreation Department Gift Tree Program, a worthy cause, but a poorly written release. The objective of the release was to encourage people to give the gift of a tree. The first paragraph positions a tree as a better alternative to classically unwanted gifts like fruitcakes and Christmas sweaters. It goes on to tell the reader how they’ll be helping their community and the environment by helping the city reach their goal of planting 100,000 trees in Boston by 2020. A win win for everyone. But then the tone turns to guilt. The second paragraph chastises the reader for guilty Christmas pleasures - cutting down trees and sending out holiday cards. I'm curious as to why the city couldn’t decide what would be the better positioning – tree as great gift alternative or tree as duty to compensate for the holiday induced enlargement of carbon footprints. I think keeping the positioning at great gift alternative works best, tie in the environmental angle (without blaming the reader) and you have a wining release, and most importantly, more people gifting trees. 

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