Like any trend, the "green" movement has fallen in and out of favor, but for the past few years, it's been especially popular -- maybe as popular as it was when it first gained mainstream momentum during the hippie movement of the 1960s. And perhaps because of that popularity, Nielsen has decided to hop on the eco-friendly bandwagon with its first-ever Automotive Green Marketer of the Year award, which will be presented this Thursday, November 18, at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Nielsen's goal in creating the award was to acknowledge the automaker "that made the greatest strides in gaining consumer awareness and positively shifting consumer perceptions for the automotive industry’s environmentally friendly initiatives." In evaluating the field, Nielsen culled data from over 2.5 million American TV viewers and followed sentiment on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. To be eligible for the award, automakers had to run a national TV ad with a "green" them between October 2009 and September 2010.
We're happy to report that this year's finalists for Nielsen's inaugural Automotive Green Marketer of the Year award are Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, And Toyota. The winner will be the one that had the greatest impact on public perception, not necessarily the one with the best ad or series of ads (which is a different contest altogether). That may explain why Nissan failed to make the cut, despite its popular commercials for the 2011 Leaf featuring Lance Armstrong and one very well-trained polar bear.
Interestingly, in the course of its surveying, Nielsen found that the vast majority of consumers are aware of eco-friendly marketing, and around 80% recalled seeing a "green" car ad in the recent past. In social media, most of the discussion of eco-friendlier vehicles has been positive, with Nielsen finding only about 1% of all sentiment falling in the negative category.Of course, just as the hippie movement was eventually steamrolled by the hippies' younger siblings -- sometimes known as the "Me Generation" -- the current "green" trend will probably meet a fate that's no less grim. But for now, bring on the awards.