Sunday, December 30, 2007

blau ist das neue grün

JWT, the largest American PR firm and the world's fourth-largest, recently released a prediction list of the top eighty trends for 2008. The one brought to my attention was this:
Blue is the new green: Climate change has quickly become the driver of environmentalism 2.0, and people worldwide understand that climate is all about the seas and the sky—both blue. Watch for “green” to become a subset of “blue,” which is coming to denote the much larger emerging spirit of good-citizen ethics.

I've always been taken by the Environmentalist 2.0 cultural appropriation of the color/word/symbol green. While it has always been associated with environmentalism, the color/word/symbol green seems to me to carry more financial connotation. Go Green, Save Green has been an omnipresent slogan that creeps me out to no end.

What to make of the statement, then, by JWT saying blue will be the new green. For me, the first thing that came to mind was the art movement known as Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Riders). Originating in Germany, the group supposedly formed in response to a work of Kandisky's being rejected from a gallery. The name itself comes from a Kandinsky painting (pictured here). Kandisky was a lover of the color blue, of which he wrote:
The power of profound meaning is found in blue [...] The inclination of blue to depth
 is so strong that its inner appeal is stronger when its shade is 

 Blue is the typical heavenly colour.

The ultimate feeling it creates is one of rest.

When it sinks almost to black, it echoes a grief that is hardly 

-Kandisky, On the Spiritual in Art from "On Painting, Part II"

Environmentalist, Sustainabilitists or Sustainable Developers rely increasingly on public branding, public campaigns or simply public spectacle to bring attention to their cause. Poignant images, celebrities, stunning text or beautiful design may all be used to win the viewer over to the cause. Green, apparently, lacks the intensity demanded by a firm such as JWT (no doubt employed by many large companies to greenwash).

In looking over the released statement and website (specifically JWT's branch called Ethos, the subtle references to humanity and ethics caught my mind time and again. For example, this last phrase from the statement:

Watch for “green” to become a subset of “blue,” which is coming to denote the much larger emerging spirit of good-citizen ethics.

And this statement from the Ethos website:

Ethos delivers breakthrough ideas for organizations looking to strengthen their business by engaging with social issues

Could the designation of blue, a decidedly spiritual or at least more meaningful color be a sign of the times? Could the market actually be dictating or perhaps even leading a spiritual revolution? I'll be a tough sell (ba-dum-psh!), but not entirely negative. If it's good enough for Kandisky, I guess blue's good enough for me...

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