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  • May 5, 2008

Season Finale: Earth Day 2008

A look back on seasonal trends, email activity and standout B2C marketing:

Start to finish: The first reference to Earth Day was on March 27 from Harry & David. The final reference was on April 27 from Macy’s.

The distribution curve: The biggest days for Earth Day emails were Tuesday, April 22, which is Earth Day, and Sunday, April 20. Retailers sent the majority of Earth Day-themed emails after April 20. However, retailers also sent a large number of emails with eco-friendly messages that didn’t specifically mention Earth Day. But those emails pretty much follow the same distribution curve as the explicitly Earth Day emails.

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Year-over-year comparison: The percentage of retailers promoting Earth Day in their emails quadrupled this year, increasing to 16% from only 4% in 2007. For more on the year-over-year comparison, check out Alert: Earth Day retail emails triple this year.

Most interesting email: Home Depot’s April 21 email with the subject line “Celebrate Earth Day and Save” was my favorite because it gives subscribers so many ways to take action. Home Depot was able to promote their Eco Options line (which they promote throughout the year), their n:vision CFL bulbs (which are great by the way) and Energy Star appliances; run a CFL bulb sweepstakes; offer recycling, composting and gardening advice—and tied their Earth Day promotion into Tax Day, making a play for tax refunds. There was a lot going on, but it wasn’t overwhelming.

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I also liked OfficeMax’s April 22 email with the subject line “Celebrate Earth Day - Go Green, Save Green.” In it, they give you three “Did you know?” tips that then clicked on brought you to a landing page with products that fit those tips. Very simple and clean—three tips and product assortments that let you act on those tips.

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Noteworthy trend: As I’ve already mentioned, there were a lot of emails from retailers that contained eco-friendly messaging but no reference to Earth Day. The messaging was really diverse. For instance, REI dedicated an April 17 email to the ecological and physical benefits of cycling, tying it to May, which is National Bike to Work Month. Crutchfield and Circuit City promoted their electronics recycling programs, with Circuit City even offering gift cards in exchange for old electronics. In an April 22 email with the subject line “Earn Bass Pro Shops Gear and Support Conservation,” Bass Pro Shops pitched their Bank of America Conservation Card. In an April 24 email, Costco promoted energy-efficient LED lighting. Sam’s Club promoted “Sustainability” in an April 21 email. And in perhaps the strangest eco-connection, PetSmart asked subscribers to “Buy recycled ink cartridges and a donation will go to PetSmart Charities.”

Pleasant surprises: Road Runner Sports extended their Earth Day promotion by linking it to Arbor Day, which was Friday, April 25. And as I mentioned above, Home Depot tied their Earth Day promotion into Tax Day and REI mentioned National Bike to Work Month. So there are definitely some cross-holiday possibilities.

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Standout subject lines:
eBags, 4/21 — Earth Day at eBags: 3 things you can do + EXTRA savings
OfficeMax, 4/22 — Celebrate Earth Day - Go Green, Save Green
Road Runner Sports, 4/22 — Happy Earth Day! Get One Mother (Earth) Of A Deal!
Crate & Barrel, 4/22 — A beautiful place to spend Earth Day

Read previous posts about Earth Day emails.
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