Flip the whole marketing world on its head

I always wondered what happened to Dara O’Rourke from the University of California in Berkeley, who criticized social auditing practices already in the 1990s by asking “Who is monitoring the monitors?“. In 2006 he wrote an interesting article in World Development, where he compared different standards initiatives – but this was his last publication I know of.

Last year the NYT reported about his latest project. He founded the company – Goodguide – and now tries to revolutionize marketing: “What we’re trying to do is flip the whole marketing world on its head, … Instead of companies telling you what to believe, customers are making the statements to the marketers about what they care about.” His company collects information about products and through an iphone app customers can check social, health and environmental issues behind the product they intend to buy in the supermarket.

Actually a student in Basel developed a similar tool – Codecheck – in his Master thesis already in 2002. Since then he continued to developed his tool. Such tools might empower critical consumers – although it remains to be seen how many shoppers will in future take the effort to scan bar codes in supermarkets.


One Comment on “Flip the whole marketing world on its head”

  1. […] I think the idea of such such a shop is really good, and I think that it can help promote particularly smaller “sustainable” labels. However, the founderes of the shop must take care that they finally do not sell products under the “ethics” umbrella that only have very poor sustainability criteria. I think that it is problematic that the nine very broadly defined criteria already now theoretically include almost every product. And I also have my doubts, whether sellers and consumers should be the only ones rating the products regarding their sustainability. Sometimes more information of high quality is more helpful than tons of information of low quality, which only confuses the consumers. I believe that the stores should at least have some more strict “must have” criteria or some kind of benchmarking system that allows to rank products in terms of their sustainability. Even if this task is difficult to fulfill, there are other platforms that might show the right way (see my earlier post). […]


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