Adobe amends e-card campaign after industry outcry

Jo Francis
Monday, December 9, 2019

Adobe has backtracked after an industry backlash against its use of ‘greenwashing’ in a Christmas promotion.

The before and after of Adobe’s ‘Cards for Change’ Christmas e-card creation campaign
The before and after of Adobe’s ‘Cards for Change’ Christmas e-card creation campaign

The software giant’s ‘Cards for Change’ Christmas e-card creation campaign originally contained the wording: “Did you know a huge 900 million holiday cards are sold in the UK each year? Save the trees and send an e-card instead.”

Greg Selfe, country manager at advocacy group Two Sides highlighted Adobe’s faux pas on social media, posting: “Hugely disappointing to see Adobe using this message in their #cardsforchange campaign.

“Far from ‘saving trees’, a healthy market for forest products such as paper encourages the long-term growth of forests through sustainable forest management. Let’s hope Adobe, whose products are the cornerstone of so many in the print, paper and graphics industries, agree to take this misleading and damaging statement down as quickly as possible,” he said.

Printweek readers reacted with dismay and frustration that a long-standing supplier to the industry would choose to use such inappropriate and inaccurate messaging.

Anthony Donnelly, commercial manager at Penrith-based H&H Reeds, said: “How exceedingly misjudged this is. Not only are they risking alienating a large part of their core market, they are doing so by peddling misinformation.”

He was also one of a number of industry professionals to point out that Adobe was also ignoring the environmental footprint of e-communications and the issue of e-waste.

“What is the carbon footprint of the countless servers they are using to run this and their cloud-based products compared to the countless paper based cards we, and others like us, have produced using material from sustainable sources and through carbon capture schemes? Time for a swift rethink Adobe?” Donnelley added.

Luke Hazell, sales manager at Conservatree Print & Design in Theale described the choice of wording as “really poor from Adobe”.

“I would love to see what their overall stance is on sustainability or are they just another un-educated corporate jumping on the marketing train.”

Two Sides – and Printweek – contacted Adobe asking the firm to amend the promotion, which has now been changed, adding to the long list of nearly 500 companies that have removed ‘greenwashing’ messaging after an intervention by Two Sides.

An Adobe spokesman told Printweek: “Our festive campaign aimed to encourage people to get creative while raising money for The Climate Group at the same time.

“Recognising the concerns you’ve raised, we have removed the wording from our campaign landing page and won’t be using it moving forward.”

Two Sides issued a special bulletin to highlight the swift success: “Two Sides contacted Adobe immediately after one of our own team first saw the Adobe ad on Facebook. The industry was also quick to share its disappointment with Adobe on social media, which really helped to get the software giant's attention.

“We are pleased to announce that Adobe has now removed the statement. Two Sides have offered to train Adobe's marketing team and wider staff about print and paper's great environmental story. We hope they accept our offer.”


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