Eco-Friendly Phone Charger by AT&T

Ahhhh, our beloved phone chargers – we all have them.  Some of us probably have more than one to leave at home, at the office, etc., and chances are, most of us leave our phone chargers plugged into the wall 24/7 (guilty as charged). Leaving our cell phone chargers constantly plugged in (when we’re not actually charging our phones) is obviously a huge waste of electricity.  We all have our excuses as to why we do it: we don’t have time to unplug them when we are rushing around getting ready, we forget to unplug them, we are too lazy, whatever.  No matter what your excuse may be, fear not – AT&T has what they call the ZERO charger – an eco-friendly phone charger!

The charger works by cutting off the power supply from the wall socket to the charger when the charger automatically senses if a cell phone is plugged in or not (how awesome is that?).  This five-star efficiency rated charger comes packaged from 100% recycled paper and is nearly universally compatible with any device including bluetooth headsets, iPods, and more. This device is great because it not only saves the environment, saves us money on our electric bill, and saves our conscious from feeling too guilty about harming the environment, but AT&T makes it compatible with a variety of devices so that we can all do our part to cut down on overusing resources.  Does anyone have this phone charger?  It’s definitely something very worthy of checking out!

For more on this topic, check out Mashable’s “AT&T Intros Eco-Friendly Phone Charger”

How to Solve the Twitter Background Problem in Safari

I would be remised to skip a formal introduction before I write my first blog as a social media intern at Ingenex Digital Marketing. My name is Brian Vandeputte and I am in my last semester at Michigan State University. I am majoring in advertising and hope to pursue a career in art direction.

Brian Vandeputte

Firefox and Safari are the two most prominent web browsers, however, they are obviously not programed and designed by the same company. Case in point, one of my first tasks at Ingenex was to re-design the LA2M Twitter page. I made the alterations on Firefox, and thought they would transfer over to Safari. Little did I know how wrong I would be.

Credit is due to Why Wait Webs, for helping me solve this dilemma. The gist of the problem is that in Safari, color in images mismatches with the CSS background colors. To rectify the situation, use an image instead of a CSS background color. Instead of having #FFF in the background color CSS code, you should have something like background-image:url(bg_solid_color.gif);

Then, if you make any changes in Photoshop, save your work for Web devices. In Firefox, you could save it as a JPG and upload it, but it doesn’t work that simply in Safari.

David Hilton finds a Social Tool in Twitter

Headshot for the ages...

Headshot for the ages...

Time to break the proverbial ice and introduce myself to those of you who may not know me. My name is David Hilton and I’m one of the new interns here at Ingenex Digital Marketing. This is my first blog post EVER, so don’t judge me too harshly if this reads a like a “noob” wrote it…because that is exactly what’s happening. My fellow interns and I were hired to learn and experience the world of digital advertising and so far so good. I’ve learned a lot in just one week by reading The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott and I’ve looked online at some of the marketing concepts mentioned in the book in order to gain a better understanding of how a digital agency like Ingenex helps their clients.

It’s interesting to me how easy it is to market a company efficiently using internet tools I usually take for granted. Like Facebook for example. I use it to connect with friends and family, share pictures, and find people I haven’t seen in a long time. Companies have taken advantage of Facebook by adding their businesses to the site through viewable profiles and creating applications for people to use that can result in a possible sale. Even CEO’s are creating Facebook accounts every day to better connect with customers. I used to hear about Facebook all the time on television and in the news. But, lately I haven’t heard anything about it. Not even a peep. No, lately I’ve been hearing a lot of tweets about a new and more popular social networking tool. And yes, pun intended.

Last night I was watching the Orlando Magic put the smack down on the Boston Celtics. During the broadcast I couldn’t help but notice that the commentators were constantly talking about Twitter. They must have mentioned it over 30 times. Even Charles Barkley was talking about how he had one. Also, as I finished the New Rules of Marketing book earlier yesterday I came across a section about social networking and how Twitter can help to keep customers updated with their favorite companies. Even earlier that day CNN was talking about how viewers can follow Wolf Blitzer’s Twitter to find out more on stories he will be covering or if he’s currently buying groceries. What have I been missing? Usually I adopt a social networking tool long before the media does! Not so with Twitter. They beat me to the punch.

twitterSo what exactly is Twitter? Twitter is a social networking tool that allows users to create tweets: micro-blogs that are limited to just 140 characters. Think of it as a constant Facebook status update, but without the clutter of wall posts, profile updates, etc. And did I mention it’s incredibly easy to sign up for it? I just did a few minutes ago and it only took me about 2 minutes. I even added people from my g-mail account to my new Twitter account instantly and I am also tracking some celebrities right now such as Kevin Smith.

So, maybe your still wondering just how the heck can this be used as an effective marketing tool? Well, let’s go back to Kevin Smith. Twenty-one hours ago Kevin Smith posted this: “ThatKevinSmith: One month from today I’m on Carnegie stage: http://www.tinyurl.com/carn… Hoping in tomorrow’s update, we’re under 1k left to sell.” Now, I had no idea that he would be at Carnegie doing a stand-up routine until I saw his tweet. He even mentions that there are only 1,000 tickets left to sell which establishes a call to action. And, to top it all off, the post is personal. Kevin Smith wrote it himself and didn’t have to pay a cent hiring an ad agency, PR person, or marketing firm to announce this information. And it’s not just his fans that will receive this information. News agencies, radio stations, blogs, podcasts, and anyone who is a follower of Kevin Smith on Twitter will receive this information and report it to people at NO COST. This is what marketing is all about now and this is why Twitter can be such an important tool. In 140 characters or less you can reach a wide audience and accomplish your goals for practically nothing. How cool is that?

So, I urge you to join Twitter and immerse yourself in this powerful tool. I’ve been a member for 20 minutes so far, and already I feel like telling the world about my goings on throughout the day. You can do this right from your phone as well, making it possible to update your status at any time, any where. This tool can also have the potential to allow business people to start writing their own blogs pertaining to their company and job.

As I get more acquainted with Twitter and other social networking tools, I will continue to blog about new and exciting things throughout my time here at Ingenex. This blog was more about “testing the waters” I guess, especially since most of you may already know about Twitter. I’m sure it’s fun to hear a newbie’s thoughts on the subject anyway, but as my experience grows so will these posts. I hope to meet a lot of you in the coming months and make sure to follow me on Facebook, Linkedin, and now Twitter. Thanks for reading!

David H.

ECO-VERTISING!

More and more corporations are starting to combine their advertising efforts with the trend to go eco-friendly, a relationship known to some as eco-advertising or eco-vertising.  This relationship allows corporations to benefit from advertising about their attitude and interventions in regard to eco-friendly business. 

Despite the message the eco-friendly ads these corporations are sending  many are forgetting that the means through which they are sending them are far from eco-friendly.  Using mass print media such as magazines or newspapers, fliers or billboards all of which require paper, printing, transportation, and numerouse other un-natural and environmentally deterring resources to create.  The big question is, is it the profit margin of this new niche market they are trying to capitalize on or are they really hoping to make a difference? 

Although some corporations unfortunately might be making the choice for the wrong reasons there are many out there that are leading the way in eco-vertising. 

For starters Toyota known today for being one of the leaders in Hybrid cars took their eco-friendly outreach to a whole new level when introducing their 3rd generation Prius at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.  Instead of handing out glossy brochures inside large plastic bags to be carried around the show by as many people as they can get their hands on, they chose to continue to make positive changes by handing out paper cards in the shape of their new car with seeds embedded in them.  When placed in soil and given water and light the seeds in these cards provided beautiful flowers for their audience to remember them by all summer long.  Stepping out of the box and into an eco-friendly mindset Toyota not only lead the way with their eco-friendly car but also stood as one of the eco-vertising leaders at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show!

So how many other ways can a company eco-vertise? 

Curb, a natural media company based in London, UK has answered this question with their unique eco-vertising concepts.  Clean advertising and snow tagging are two out of the many I found interesting in their bag of tricks.

 eco-vertising_clean-ad4eco-vertising_snowtagging2

  • Clean advertising: laser cut stencils are put on surfaces like a pavement and the surface is then cleaned to let the message shine through the dirt and grime.
  • Snow tagging: company logos/messages are branded into the snow for a winter advertising.

Despite the out of the box thinking and unique eco-vertising techniques being developed there are other ways to go green which can start sooner than you think.  One niche that I personally have become a big fan of that is growing exponentially is the use of digital media as a platform for advertising.  It requires nothing but the power of technology that is already on the desktops and palms of your target audience.  Digital media eliminates the need for most (or at least some to start with) print material and provides mass outreach like never before, best of all this method of going green saves you some green at the same time!

Derek Mehraban (CEO, Ingenex Digital Marketing) continues to develop the digital media presence for individuals and businesses so they can eco-vertise to reach their audience.  Mehraban is not only focused on providing an eco-friendly service but like Toyota, he supports this green initiative through other parts of his company.  In Mehraban’s case it is not an eco-friendly pamphlet but a unique eco-friendly internship program that helps interns like myself reduce the carbon footprint on the world.  

Deepti Dewan Chowdhry

Hunting the Eco-Bounty

In the interest of eco-friendliness (naturally), I bring you this update from an unlit bedroom with the power of my laptop’s battery.

So much of what we hear lately is about going green. As a Michigan State student (and lifelong fan), I’ve been yelling “Go Green!” as long as I can remember. Fortunately, the agricultural history of America’s first land-grand institution backs that phrase up, and with the help of the estate of Nick Drake, combined for a beautiful ad for the university and a reminder of who’s been going green from the start.

So what does it take to “Go Green?” My boss, Derek, recently let me know about a really great piece from trendwatching.com, a site that gives some great insights into trends across all industries — in other words, a goldmine for entrepreneurs. The article, Eco-Bounty, is part of their monthly trend briefing, a detailed profile of whoever or whatever is making the most buzz.

The key bit of information the article provides for marketers, entrepreneurs, and anyone else feeling the eco-friendly movement starting to gain speed is laid out in a very simple way: being green isn’t just nice to Mother Earth — it’s where the money is. Want green? Be green.

Eco-consciousness is becoming a status symbol. Excess is out and cheap is chic (you have to wonder if Steve and Barry are wishing they’d not overextended themselves to the point of bankruptcy last year — I can imagine Starbury Shoes are probably looking pretty good to a lot of families right now). From solar-powered boats to grass-covered roofs, there are a lot of ways that individuals and businesses can make themselves stand out in a way to showcase their brand as trendsetting, young, and conservational all at once. Greenwashing is already becoming a concern for eco-conscious consumers, so companies who want to claim their eco-friendliness had better be prepared to back it up.

With a recession in full-swing, there’s no better time than the present to start thinking about conserving, whether you’re a college student trying to stretch out that food budget for the week, or a CEO looking to save on energy costs — making an investment in green now will keep you from going in the red later.

Nate Erickson

Environmental Tips on Improving Your Fuel Efficiency

I’m sure most of you have been fighting gas prices throughout the year. Despite the fact that most of us are trying to be more eco-friendly the constant increase in the price of oil has made it extremely tough. In recent weeks however, gas stations have surprised us all and have actually lowered their prices. We’ll see how long that actually lasts though. Hopefully it won’t be short-lived. In the mean time, here are some tips to help make your automobile more fuel efficient:

 

  • Slow down your acceleration time (accelerate 0 to 60 mph in about 15 seconds). The average improvement in fuel economy is about 31%
  • For all you speed racers out there, try driving the speed limit. You’ll save on average 12%.
  • Try using your cruise control more frequently, it can save you an average of 7%
  • If you end up being stuck in traffic or idle for more than one minute turn off your car, it will save you an average of 14%
  • Refuel your vehicle during the evening hours to cut down on the amount of pollution created
  • Try combining your daily errands and activities to the shortest route possible. The heaviest car emissions occur during the first two miles that your car is being driven since the engine is still warming up
  • Keep your tires inflated at the maximum recommended pressure and get your car alignment checked about every 5,000 miles
  • Keep up on your car maintenance, especially ignition timing, spark plugs and wiring, and idle speed settings
  • Purchas long-lasting, fuel-efficient radial tires
  • Avoid quick starts and stops
  • Use anti-freeze that doesn’t contain ethylene glycol
  • Avoid idling your car for more than 30 seconds
  • Keep the air and fuel filters clean

 

In addition to these check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Vehicle Guide. All you have to do is fill in your car make, model, year and state and it will show you your cars fuel efficiency, air pollution score, greenhouse gas score and more. You can also look up and compare what the “greenest” vehicles are.

 

 

Driving is an essential part of most of our daily lives. Although it is hard to cut back on our daily activities, we must come to realize that when there is an opportunity for us to take public transportation or ride a bike we should use it. Although we rely on cars to fulfill a majority of our needs, we also rely on the environment to survive. Without the environment, we are non-existent thus making cars un-important.

Saving Green

With the current state of the economy, those of us who aren’t eco-friendly yet need to look into it – being environmentally savvy can save more than you think. The upsets of the financial markets in the United States are having effects across the globe; consumers everywhere are thinking again before making purchases, going a little longer before replacing things, and weighing the values of each purchase before heading to the checkout line. Depressing stuff, right? Luckily for people who think green, saving the planet can also mean saving dollars.

Here are some top tips I found that can help you conserve your dollars and the earth, chosen for their low-cost aspect and ease of adoption:

 

 1. Put on a sweater

Add degrees of warmth, and save money while you’re at it! Keep your heating bills down and enjoy sporting winter fashions at the same time. Layering is a really good idea for maintaining the temperature you want, wherever you go. Even if you’re just hanging around the house, putting on more clothes definitely beats turning up the thermostat when it comes the checkbook.      

Layer with one of each color ;-)

 

2. Stop drinking bottled water

Did you know that you can get bottled water for free, at home? All you have to do is take a bottle (preferably reusable) and fill it with water – from the tap. If you have a thirst emergency and you aren’t at home, or don’t own any bottles, hands work equally well as efficient (and free) cups. If you insisit on drinking bottled water, RECYCLE!

3. Cut back on meat

 

Yes, you can still get enough protein if you stop eating meat, or even reduce your consumption even one day a week. Eating less meat means saving lots of money – meat is pretty expensive compared to tofu, beans, vegetables, fruit, or grain staples. Additionally, cutting the fat for many people will mean saving on future medical bills as well – consider it a non-taxable investment in your personal health.

 

4. Keep your computer as long as possible, and recycle once you decide to buy a new one

 

Sure, we would all love to have the latest technology as soon as it comes out. This may be an option for some people, but a computer is a hefty investment to others. While your old machine may not be in the prime of its technological ‘life’, waiting to replace it saves the resources it would take to make it, the gas needed to transport it, and the moolah in your pocket from being spent. Upgrade your existing machine, and if it really is time to buy new, make sure to recycle your old computer appropriately.

 

5. Have a winter party!

 

Be resourceful: invite your friends over for a gathering, and harvest their body heat! Each guest is the equivalent of a 175-watt heater, so the more peeps you invite, the warmer your house (and your heart). Seriously though, at one point all of us have been in an unbearably hot bar or club and know that body heat gets places hot. There are no rules on feeding or watering your guests, so let them provide the hot air while you bask in the glow of free heat.

If you really want to be extra-green, consider trying to live a life in the day of this family. For those of you just trying to save a buck, I would recommend The Daily Green, The Budget Ecoist, or the Frugalist. I hope that this entry helps you save money, but more importantly, look at your spending habits and evaluate your consumption and its effects on the environment. If you do end up saving so much money that you want to share the wealth, contact me and we can arrange an (eco-friendly) e-Transfer.

Go Ride A Bike…For Free

According to The New York Times, bike borrowing and sharing programs are becoming very popular at universities and colleges around the country. Some universities are funding the programs, hoping that students will choose bike travel over using their car. Some schools spent as much as $50,000 on their program, offering bikes that sell for over $400. Other programs involve discounts through local bike shops. Not only will this cut down on carbon emissions, but it will also decrease traffic and parking competition on campus.

(sxc.hu)

I think there’s a definite need for such a program at Michigan State. Students pay between $1.25 – $1.75 per hour for campus parking, and tickets start at $10 and quickly accumulate. However, this kind of program might conflict with the City of East Lansing’s actions to move students as far as possible from the actual campus. More and more students live in apartments up to two miles away from where they attend class. The main campus is already about four square miles, or about a 45-minute walk from end to end. Some might also say that bike riding decreases in the winter with increased snow and ice levels. Still, the bike remains the best method of transportation at schools like MSU and U of M. It woud be in the best interest of the universities to develop a free bike program for students.

Furthermore, cities should start programs like this. I would potentially ride a bike to downtown Ann Arbor if I had a decent street bicycle. However, I currently do not own one, so I lack that option. A city could help develop its green accomplishments (and its green reputation) with this kind of program.

(NOTE – I’ve just been informed by fellow Eco-Friendly Intern Jennifer Harrison that MSU does have a bike rental program. You can read about it at bike.msu.edu.)

Follow our internship at my personal Digital Marketing Blog. Also, go to the Social Harbor website to learn more about Ingenex Digital Marketing.

Carbon Dioxide: Omiting the Footprints

Every day, the U.S. emits the equivalent of about 118 pounds of carbon dioxide per resident. That’s almost 20 metric tons per year which is about five times the number per citizen of the world, according to the International Energy Agency. Now you may be wondering what the importance of carbon dioxide is or why I am even taking the time to discuss it. Well, here is why. Recently, I came across an article in The Wall Street Journal that discussed a new concept called carbon foot printing. This article peaked my interest and caused me to do further research on this topic.

Carbon footprints are the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are emitted into the air when goods are made, shipped, stored and then used by the consumer. It has been discovered that many products’ global-warming impact depends more on how products are made than on how they are actually used. With that being said, the easiest way to cut carbon emissions would be to buy a product less, or use it in a way that is more conservational.

Referring back to the Wall Street Journal article that I discovered, I came across some very interesting points that would be good for any consumer to know. The article compared some everyday items and calculated their carbon footprints.  The article revealed that for every mile a car travels, the average U.S. car emits about one pound of carbon dioxide (annually that’s about five tons of carbon dioxide per year). 86% of those emissions came from actually using the car as opposed to the 4% that was emitted from making and assembling the car. This proves that consumers can lower their carbon footprints by buying a car with better fuel economy and not driving it as much. Typically, the cars with better gas mileage had less carbon emissions as opposed to bigger cars with worse gas mileage. It has also been suggested that another way to minimize carbon foot printing is to keep your car as long as possible since junking a car and manufacturing a new one produces pollution.

An unlikely product that most people would not think gives off carbon foot printing is none other than shoes. Timberland boots, usually used for hiking, can range anywhere from 22 pounds to 220 pounds of carbon emissions. Not only boots, but flip flops tend to have carbon footprints of 22 pounds to 44 pounds.  Normal shoes typically give off about 66 pounds to 132 pounds whereas hiking boots emit anywhere between 154 to 198 pounds. Another thing that drives up carbon emissions in shoes is leather. The average dairy cow produces an amount of greenhouse gas equivalent to four tons of carbon dioxide annually. Most of that is due to the greenhouse gas, methane. A cow’s multiple stomachs produces lots of methane which is 25 times as damaging to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. 

Even something like the type of laundry detergent you use can effect carbon emissions. For a low-carbon load of laundry use liquid detergent instead of powder and wash your clothes in cool water. In addition to this you should hang dry your clothes instead of putting them in the dryer.  Not drying your clothes in a dryer will cut carbon foot printing 4.4 pounds per load. Solid capsules of detergent have the highest carbon foot printing. Powder has a somewhat lower footprint than capsules; however, liquid still has the lowest of them all. This is mainly due to the fact that making solid detergent uses more energy than making the liquid detergent.

 

A recent study by a Dallas based dairy called National Dairy Holdings, found that the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk in a plastic jug is either 6.19 pounds or 7.59 pounds. The difference is due to what kind of cases the jugs are placed in during the transportation process from the plant to the distribution center. Plastic cases yield more carbon-dioxide emissions than cardboard cases. It has also been found that the single biggest chunk of emissions from milk production comes from all the action in a cow’s stomach.

Beer is a product most college students are pretty familiar with; however, I doubt they are aware of how much carbon dioxide a six pack emits. It has been found that a six-pack alone would release about seven pounds of carbon footprints.  The refrigeration of beer at its stores is where most of the emissions come from. This creates a problem since most stores refuse to keep most of its beer out of the refrigerator for fear of losing customers. The other alternative to this is enclosing the beer with clear doors as opposed to having open beer chillers. Now the store’s biggest concern is whether or not thirsty customers feel like making the extra effort to open the door.

So as you can see, carbon emissions are found everywhere in some of the various products we use on a daily or weekly basis. There isn’t much we can do to avoid this; however, there are things we can do to lessen the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. Once again, preservation of the environment lies in the hands of the consumer.

 

A Green Fall

With autumn upon us, what are some seasonal eco-friendly tips that can be used to make this year even more sustainable and energy efficient?

Home at Yellow advises you to harness the power of the sun; keep your blinds or curtains open during the day to let in light and heat your home, for free! Once the sun goes down, pull the shades to keep out cold drafts and add an extra layer of insulation to your windows.

When leaves begin to change their colors, it is a welcome sign that fall has arrived. Leaves that fall all over the yard, however, are not such a soothing sight as they symbolize work to come, and raking to do. What to do with the piles of leaves before they blow back onto your lawn? Throw them away? Burn them? These options aren’t really the most eco-friendly disposal methods. Instead, look into composting your leaves, as it keeps waste to a minimum.

Compost your yard waste!

Compost your yard waste!

If you or family members are going back to school or the office, make sure that your supply shopping is eco-friendly as well. If possible, re-use supplies from last year, and purchase products that use recycled materials. Smencils are a great example of an innovative green product that even kids can get excited about, as well as fundraise for their schools. And who doesn’t love a smelly pencil?

Tips from Environmentally Friendly Hybrid Green Cars include remembering to switch off all electrical units such as the sound system, heating system, compartment lights, and headlights to reduce drain on your car battery as well as maintenance costs. If you are able to park your car in a covered garage as the weather gets colder, your car will take less time to heat up. Additionally, even if your car is cold, don’t use the seat warmer! This luxury feature sucks up tons of energy, so use it very sparingly.

For those of us who live in cooler climates, autumn means saying goodbye to summer and preparing for the snow and ice of winter – but by making eco-friendly choices in your everyday life, you can stay green all year long.