Toxic Brandnomers

I'm reading Not Just a Pretty Face right now, and while I fully intend to write a post that is completely dedicated to Stacy Malkan’s book, career and goals, I felt the immediate need to discuss her “girlcotting” concept...or Dr. Devra Davis’ concept, which Ms. Malkan references.

Dr. Davis states that women are generally the household purchasers of groceries and products; that women care profoundly about the health of their families; and that women, banded together for a common cause, can truly make things happen. Of course! Well, Malkan builds on Davis’ ideas, and adds that “It’s fun to think about spending my money on the kind of world I want to create. YES to women finding and celebrating true beauty in ourselves and in each other. NO to an organic experience created in a petrochemical factory…”

While boycotting is traditionally focused on saying “NO” to an idea or product, girlcotting is focused on saying “YES” to improved health, and on changing a fundamental pattern of consumerism for the better. Girlcotting is right up the Naturalchemyst's alley!

So my suggestion is that we build on Davis’ girlcotting idea, and take it a step further by striking against brandnomers and brand names of popular toxic products. A brandnomer is basically a brand name that we regularly use, without even realizing. It is a brand name that controls market dominance for a specific product. For instance: “I needed a Kleenex to blow my nose;”“I Xerox-ed the document;” or, “could I borrow your Chapstick?”

But are you really requesting that your friend pull a chapstick-brand lip balm out of her tote? Or is it simply a request to borrow whatever brand she might have available? Probably the latter, right?

I’m certainly not advocating an attack on industry in general (not in the least!). We can (obviously) learn A LOT from the chemical researchers and whiz marketing teams behind toxic products. For one, there is an immense amount of time, energy and creativity that goes into the actual cultivation of a brand name. And think about the packaging and design that draws your eye and attention to this name! The organic and natural products industry could probably benefit from studying the marketing and brand management tactics used by large toxic product conglomerates. The biggest toxic product manufacturers have many more years in the industry and MANY brilliant people in their marketing departments. The ultimate goal is for these creative and intelligent individuals to begin using their skills to develop and market healthier products...and to do so soon! But in the meantime, the natural product companies can learn from their strategy, marketing, and design.

As we begin to cut toxic products out of our daily lifestyles and diets, a fun and valuable exercise might be to cut the toxic brandnomers out of our vocabularies as well. For instance, instead of referring to it as Purell, we might go with “hand sanitizer” or better yet, with CLEANWELL! It’s not a Q-tip, but a cotton swab (and hopefully it’s an organic cotton swab, at that). To take this a step further, it let's begin referring to our natural products by their OWN brand names... For instance, one might refer to a pore strip as a "Clari-T"rather than the antiquated "B word"company.

At the very least, let's get the Chapstick out of our vocabularies and out of our purses, backpacks, jackets, what-have-yous... Check back in a few days to see which lip balms are a much better option this fall. And in the meantime, remember how much power we have as consumers, to change the future of the products industry. Small steps like "girlcotting" and eliminating toxic brandnomers will truly make a difference.

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