Brands Get Green Seal of Approval from CBS

CBS has created a new program offering advertisers a green seal of approval. The network will begin promoting the new initiative tonight with a spot that will air in the drama NCIS.

It will cost advertisers more to get the seal, however. It’s a green leaf superimposed on ads, which signals that a portion of the participating advertisers’ ad buy is helping to fund solar energy projects and other initiatives aimed at reducing energy costs in local communities.

To participate, an advertiser is required to make an ad buy (usually across multiple platforms) and then work with CBS subsidiary EcoMedia to identify local projects it wants to get involved with. According to EcoMedia president Paul Polizzotto, the unit helps sponsors develop tie-ins to the project, such as on-site branding, ribbon-cutting events and other activities.

The sponsor, in return, gets the opportunity to talk up its green credentials and community improvement efforts with consumers. “For every $1 million in funding, 11 jobs are created,” said Polizzotto. And, depending on the project, annual energy savings to municipalities can add up to anywhere between $65,000 and $250,000. “That’s the power of the leaf,” he said. Advertisers are telling viewers, “every time you see this, we are helping your community. This isn’t about trees in Brazil, as important as that is,” added Polizzotto.

Another benefit to sponsors: Potential rebates, which are calculated on a formula tied to reduced carbon emissions from the projects they sponsor.

The list of participating advertisers is growing daily, said Polizzotto, and so far includes Chevrolet, Safeway, O Organics, SunPower Corp., Boston Scientific and PG&E, among others.