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So I got this email recently from a PR representative.

In celebration of Earth Day, the company Sylvania is promoting its compact fluorescent light bulbs  – by driving a Mister Softee truck around Manhattan, giving out ice cream and product coupons.

These CFL eco-friendly bulbs last 12,000 hours, apparently saving the earth and money at the same time.

12,000 hours? Ok, those sound like some really cool bulbs.

But what the hell is up with DRIVING an ice cream truck all over Manhattan in honor of Earth Day? Can you think of anything less green? Maybe tossing  McDonald’s take-out trash out the back of the truck as they drive around, wasting fuel and polluting at the same time?

Since I’d rather unveil hypocrisies than fold laundry or do dishes or clean up our apartment, I write the PR rep today and include the following question…

“Wasn’t there a more eco-friendly way to spread your message about eco-friendly lightbulbs?”

And she responds…

“Thanks for the feedback. We tried to get a a hybrid truck, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. We wanted to take the opportunity to educate people about the benefits of Sylvania CFLs on a day when energy-efficiency is top of mind as well as treat them to something they would enjoy and people have been excited so far.”

For the moment, I’m going to put aside my rage over ice cream trucks in general that park outside of the playground just around dinner time to ensure that my girls leave in hysterics when I won’t treat them to a chocolate cone.

Earth Day is not supposed to just be a promotional tool. Ask Lewis Black of “The Daily Show.” He was just ripping on “Sesame Street” because of the extra, unneeded packaging on their new Elmo “Being Green” DVD that is meant to teach kids to be less wasteful.

Even though Elmo is still God in my house and I love Sesame Street for making the green effort, Lewis Black is right. So right. Almost 1/3 of the waste generated in America is packaging. True story.

And I think this company, Sylvania, could have worked just a bit harder to actually demonstrate their commitment to the earth, rather than giving off the impression that they are just trying to sell lightbulbs.

Earth Day is not supposed to be about selling stuff. It’s about figuring out ways to protect this earth that we are somehow so intent on destroying.

I know I’m not alone in trying to make a difference. I rarely accept a plastic bag. I’m basically drowning in eco-friendly totes over here.  I recycle like a mad woman and try to conserve energy whenever I can.

If companies want to be part of the solution, they need to show some smarts, leadership and commitment. Because a free ice cream cone ain’t going to do it.

mama bird notes:

Move over Cinderella. Princess Bubble is here. You are going to love this modern day fairytale where  a prince is not a prerequisite to living happily ever after.  Click on drooling over this to read more.


45 Responses to kelcey gets pissed off on earth day

  • Ella G says:

    Yes! So there is this ad firm here in CA that is actually a converted truck of sorts that instead of a traditional bed in back, has a huge screen that faces sideways and scrolls through 3-4 ads as it drives around town. that’s right, not only have they hired some moron to add to our already congested streets, but burning fuel all the way. It makes me c-r-a-z-y!

  • Jennifer H says:

    If Sesame Street really wanted to cut out packaging, they could offer “Being Green” as an on-demand, pay-per-view show on cable.

    The ice cream truck: Didn’t it occur to anyone on that promotional team that it was a stupid idea?

  • christy says:

    I have more eco-friendly bags than I know what to do with because I’m always forgetting them in my car and buying new ones so I don’t have to use plastic!

    I hate all that extra packaging tool – and I can’t believe they couldn’t come up with a better idea than to drive around in that truck? DUH!

  • Inna says:

    My favorite is how at my supermarket whenever I take my eco-friendly bags and get a little distracted, everything gets packed the plastic bags first before being put into the canvas ones. HELLO? Why do I need TWO layers of bags when I have canvas ones??? And when I ask why this was done, the only answer I get is “because the milk is wet” Interesting, who would want my canvas bags to get wet, I mean geez they might melt or something.

  • Megan says:

    I love the way you responded back to them. YAY Kelcey!
    2 steps forward, 10 backward.
    My husband was PISSED when I turned off everything in house for “earth hour.” He said, “do you really think this makes a difference? It’s like pissing in the wind….” YES it does make a difference to ME.
    It’s exhausting saving the world huh?

  • Becky says:

    Here here!

    Hell my kid knew better than that company this morning. He would only allow two things to be on at once. And since the TV was on, my bedroom light was on AND the bathroom light, he turned off my Today Show. To which I yelled and he turned it back on and I turned off the bathroom light. Don’t mess with my Matt Lauer!

  • Ellen Degeneres once did a bit on CD packaging and how you had to open several layers of plastic and casing, tear off special sticker seals and push buttons to release the actual CD – all of which takes more time, materials and elbow grease than yor average FedEx package does. Yet easy to shatter lighbulbs are packaged in just “a sliver of cardboard.” NASA scientists develop CD packaging – but grandma could come up with the same lightbulb packaging in her gift wrapping supplies… Good point – though not specifically green related.

    So lightbulb companies win points for green *packaging*. But they lose the same amount in wasted fuel driving ice cream all over town. Plus extra negative points for enraging Kelcey at the playground.

  • Sandrine says:

    So glad you called them-
    I finally cleaned my house with seventh generation products this week end and loved it- it feels so good knowing it’s the right thing to do and that Milo can leak everything as much as he wants now!!! (sort of)
    Check this out (it’s really sad but important)

    Thank you for helping us fight this…
    my next goal is finding an easy way to unplug things in the house as much as we can so if you have any tips….

  • mayberry says:

    I wish I had been the mom who told her kids “it’s a MUSIC truck!” the first time an ice cream truck passed.

    But that ship sailed a long time ago.

  • MommyTime says:

    You are so right about the Earth Day truck, and I’m glad you called them on it, even if they didn’t really get the point.

    As for Princess Bubble, I can’t wait to check her out. Do you know the book, “The Paper-Bag Princess”? If not, you will love it!

  • misty says:

    EXACTLY… and “eco friendly” as some of these products and companies may appear, quite often there is a major hypocrisy hiding in the shadows…

  • PAPA says:

    You aren’t joking about packing contributing to so much waste….Office Depot is King here.

    Also Ice Cream trucks are a little creepy. They always have these convict looking guys driving them with creeper smiles and stained cig fingers.

  • SoMi's Nilsa says:

    I think eco-friendly companies are up against a wall in some ways. They have a relatively small audience that will listen to them at all costs. But, to reach the masses, sometimes they have to go against their principles. And it’s a difficult decision – keeping it small and true to the core – or widening the circle, even if it means sometimes cheating a bit. We can only hope there will be a day when no one puts up with the ice-cream truck on Earth Day.

  • Nap Warden says:

    So, you don’t like ice cream;P

    Seriously…you are totally right. Who are the idiot’s coming up with this. I just got contacted by Taco Bell wanting to talk weight loss on my blog. Really…Taco Bell…I passed.

  • I’m glad you called them on it – as it does seem particularly hypocritical – but I was, well, I think my jaw dropped and scraped along the floor when I read their response. Could they care less? I mean, really? Even if they tried, I’m pretty sure they couldn’t.


  • francine Kasen says:

    WOW WOW WOW KELCE ! Your blog just rocked my world! I was so afraid there were no “under 50’s” who give a shit about sacrificing a little to save our Mother Earth. Not that we children of the 60’s have done such a good job, but I do feel like we invented the movement. Please lead the way my young friend!

  • Terra says:

    Went to see Earth today, Disney is planting a tree for each ticket sold today (maybe this week, not sure) what I wondered is who holds them accountable for that? Did I help plant a tree really? Or is this like buy a star in the sky thing? Anyway – I totally get your point, They could have even had ppl riding around on bikes iwth messenger bags full of the coupons- that could have been coool! Or the bulbs themselves thus saving coupon paper. I would have loved to see 1000’s of bike riders with lightbulbs!

  • Kim says:

    Great post! I agree with you a 110%, and that is saying a lot for an ice cream lover (LOL/haha)! Seriously, what is this world coming too, when companies are trying to capitalize on Earth Day!!!!!!

  • Excellent post! Thanks for talking about Earth Day and how real people make differences in their households. I love that it was such a simple thing to sit down and write them about this. If we all did that every day, do you think the big companies would start to listen?

    And I feel the same way about g-d’ed ice cream trucks!

  • LaskiGal says:

    You know, anyone, everyone is looking for a great way to commercialize ANYTHING. Even Earth Day.

    If we can market it, sell it, package it in green, let’s go for it!


  • How about purchasing some time on the Jumbotron in Times Square and turning it off to save energy…ok sorry, that won’t work.

    Sarcasm aside, if people want to buy green, I don’t mind that as a motivation for companies to try to be green, even if it is somewhat of a gimmick (as long as it’s a legitimate one).

    We’d like to be more green for being green sake. The conflict with our product is not lost on us and we’re very sensitive to it. The incentive of consumer buying power is a strong one as well however.

  • Diane says:

    And I’m sure that ice cream was chock full of trans fats! I totally agree with you re: LAME marketing stunt. Cmon, it really is an insult and don’t we have enough of that coming at us these days? Do better corporate america or soon enough you will be govt. america!

  • kelsey says:

    off topic
    speaking of marketing….did I see an ad for In the Motherhood on your blog? does that mean you can’t write about how hard it sucks???

  • HeatherPride says:

    It totally does not shock me. Every job I’ve ever had, I’m always wondering how the decision-makers ended up in charge of the decisions. I think instead of the cream rising to the top, the airheads rise to the surface.

  • Oz says:

    Couldn’t they have had some people riding bikes pulling coolers of ice cream or something? The ice cream bike man. I could get behind that. We have a creepy, breaking down ice cream truck that haunts our neighborhood. Give me a nice, silent bike any day over that scary truck.

  • Aunt Marcia (Guess Whose?) says:

    Being an Official Old Fart (over 65) and the child of parents who lived through The Great Depression; I’ve been saving & conserving since I was old enough to get an allowance and understand ‘waste not, want not’. Ignorant ‘friends’ said I was ‘cheap’ or ‘strange’ or ‘odd’ because their parents wanted them to have everything they didn’t have (the other side of the coin having lived through a Depresson) and their children grew up thinking money grew on trees. I never feel deprived, and today my great purchase was a used Hoover Vaccuum at a thrift store for $12.75. It works…My old one that I paid $40 (used) broke after 5 years….Yes, I’ve been Keeping Down with the Jones’ my whole life…this is nothing new now; but instead of calling me ‘cheap’…now I’m GREEN.

  • Caroline says:

    Oooooh…so good! An icecream truck on Earth Day…who in the heck thought of THAT??? Good for you in writing to them. BTW I think you will love this when your daughters see the icecream man at the park. A friend of mine once told me that she told her kids that “when the icecream man’s music is on…that means he is all sold out!” 😉 haha. Caroline *mommy of two (one sweet little girl and the other ornery and sweet one, getting better by the day with the help of his Zorbee probiotics!!) An answer to prayer….and….we sleep.

  • Oz says:

    Just read your post on the NY Times site and wanted you to know I am sending lots and lots fertility vibes your way. You can give my belly a virtual rub anytime.

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kelcey kintner