The amazing hype factor of Green

Color me green with envy, again. I bow an “I’m not worthy” salute to the publicist who dreamed up the idea of pitching the New York Times on a story that a single sponsor extra issue of a magazine that appears online only is a grand experiment by a print magazine and, not-only-that, it’s an “environmentally-friendly” green thing, to boot.

By comparison, the “enviro-messaging” of the Infoworld announcement was understated: they at least did away completely with a print version, and thus, can make a claim on actually “shrinking their carbon-footprint.” To claim “green points” for not publishing an issue of a magazine that you had not planned to publish is more of a stretch-claim, however. Or what am I missing?

As I’ve blogged previously, single-advertiser issues of magazines go way-back. Also, the concept of a single-sponsored issue of a magazine as an “extra issue” is nothing new, as I’ve noted before with a link to an Apple-sponsored “extra” issue of Newsweek that appeared in 1984. Brand-extensions of magazine titles and special health or technology extra issues of magazines are regularly issued by numerous publishers, and many have single sponsors. For example, if my memory is correct, , American Heritage Invention & Technology started out with General Motors as its single-sponsor.

For magazine publishers — even the New York Times — to publish branded or sponsored editorial content in an online-only form is nothing new (i.e., the “article tools on NYTimes.com are sponsored”). For magazines to publish “digital versions” — or to go “online only” is nothing new, as my friends at NXTbook.com remind me from time-to-time.

What is new is to claim doing any of this is “green” and have Stuart Elliot bite.

Note to marketers and those who cover them: When everything becomes “green” nothing is green.

It may be difficult to discern from this post that I like the idea and think both Lexus and The Week deserve kudos. I’m just jealous.