"We cannot stand, but we stand for something,” is the rallying cry for Seventh Generation’s latest marketing campaign, an effort to give babies a virtual voice in upcoming legislation about chemicals and kid safety. In a social media marketing effort, the company has partnered with Erin Brockovich and Safer Chemicals to draw attention to the Kid Safe Chemicals Act. Seventh Generation’s message is that, "babies everywhere are crawling to Washington to say no to toxic chemicals found in our homes." A website, a series of viral videos, and numerous social media efforts are designed to educate parents and to invite them to influence politicians in Washington, D.C.
In an effort borrowing from non profit organizations like the Environmental Working Group and The Ecology Center, Seventh Generation asks its fans to behave as citizens, not just consumers. Advocates of the brand are asked to create virtual baby avatars who then crawl to Capitol Hill, where they will “rattle” legislators for toxic chemical reform. Seventh Generation has everything to gain from the passage of the Kid Safe Chemical Act, since their product line has eliminated potentially toxic substances prevalent in more mainstream household cleaners and products. Seventh Generation has also conducted the necessary research and legwork to comply with the basic premise of the proposed legislation, and would have a head start over competitors who have not yet invested in public-facing communication about product safety. So, are Seventh Generation’s advocates comfortable with the company taking such a stand?
A glance at the Twitterverse reveals that the most passionate Green Mommy Bloggers and anti-toxin crusaders have embraced the campaign. Whether or not the message moves from extreme greens to more mainstream consumer citizens remains to be seen. Over 10,000 virtual babies have been created on Seventh Generation’s site, leaving 990,000 to go. What do you think? Do companies with a strong environmental or social mission have a place to play in political movements?