A sustainable approach to marketing green initiatives

A sustainable approach to marketing green initiatives

When it comes to environmental sustainability, public institutions have to ask themselves a delicate question: how to raise awareness about the right attitude toward the ecosystem?

Behind any such communication campaign, there’s got to be a well thought-out plan involving every phase of the process, with the purpose of nudging residents toward making real and better changes in their behavior.

At the heart of this process it’s important to find the right message ― and be at once original, clear and direct.

First, let’s look at a few successful examples of campaigns developed by local public institutions, before analyzing a few projects that Moskito has done in cooperation with some municipalities in Northern Italy.

1. Varese Manca Poco

One example of success is right in our backyard: Varese Manca Poco (Varese’s almost there) was promoted by the public-private entity ASPEM  in the City of Varese with the goal of reaching 65% recycling uptake. To raise awareness among the citizens of Varese the city developed a campaign that united the distribution of marketing material (posters, letters and personalized calendars) to a series of initiatives aimed at directly involving the end users (city center events and trash bags branded with the campaign themes).

2. The Province of Trento: branding sustainability

Since 2010 Italy’s autonomous Province of Trento, in an agreement with the City of Trento, has signed a number of accords with local businesses ― including restaurants, merchants and event organizers ― and created marchi di sostenibilità (branded eco-labels), which are awarded to organizations that actively work to reduce their environmental impact. There are three labels which translate as ecorestaurant, ecoshopping and ecoevent.

3. Our contribution

And at Moskito Design we’ve worked on some promising campaigns for local organizations on the theme of environmental sustainability. One such project was Parma Progetto Energia (Parma Energy), an initiative by the City of Parma to encourage homeowners to undertake home improvements aimed at both improving energy efficiency and moving toward renewable sources of energy. Another is -RIFIUTI+SORRISI (less waste, more smiles), a multi-subject teaser recycling campaign launched in a pair of North Milan cities.

What are the steps of a successful environmental awareness marketing campaign?

But to go a bit deeper into what makes a successful green campaign I talked to Giulio Clerici, Agency Director here at Moskito Design, along with Evelina Borghesan, Moskito’s co-founder and CEO.

In the beginning was the name

Brevity, incisiveness and clarity paired with a well designed concept are the key ingredients to a successful campaign name.

Giulio: It’s never easy to find the right name from the word go. You’ve got to go in lots of different directions and study similar projects that have been done while always keeping the needs and identity of the client absolutely clear. For the Parma Energy campaign we were looking for a payoff that was brief but very clear that we could use on all the marketing materials. And that’s how we got to Parma Progetto Energia – La Tua casa in Classe A (your house in Class A, a play on the highest energy-efficiency category the state can award to houses in Italy).

Evelina: When the client arrives with a brief they’re looking for something new, so we’ve got to convince them that our project is better than the others. Sometimes you’ve got more time, but if the concept is well defined there’s no problem. The name and concept are mutually reinforcing and it’s the place you’ve got to start from.

The logo: get yourself noticed

The logo is fundamental for creating an identity that is recognizable everyone and by everywhere, whether it’s in print, on the web, or elsewhere.

Giulio: Even though sometimes you’ve got to develop a series of variations, you always try to put the right images and colors together in the logo. In the logo, as in the name, clarity is fundamental. For the Parma Energy campaign we connected the E of energy (energia) with the plug connected to a home, and chose the this particular combination of yellow-green to unite the green of clean energy and the yellow of electric light.

The teaser: get them thinking

One component of a solid communication strategy is the teaser, a high-impact preliminary campaign aimed at exciting curiosity in the public without giving too much away before the launch.

Evelina: The initial objective of the campaign -RIFIUTI+SORRISI was to heighten the public’s anticipation for the project, and to get them thinking about the topic. Recycling is a complicated issue, but we wanted it to come at it with a different approach in mind. That’s how we came up with a simple line in the form of a smile over a green background that suggests recycled paper. Usually running a teaser campaign requires a higher budget and a longer time, considering that it’s just the lead-in to the campaign itself.

Posters, rollups and brochures: clarity and seduction

Adapting the campaign to the various media means developing the principal themes with concreteness and detail.


Some examples of posters created for the campaign that play on the idea of the second life of materials.

Giulio: In this phase the important thing is to offer clarity in the content and choose the images that let people immediately identify the topic and create empathy with the public. Obviously, even for reasons of space, the brochure will have more text compared to posters and rollups, but the concepts and the images are the same and have to communicate the message immediately.

Banner ads: get seen on the web

Even display advertising like banner ads have a fundamental role in catching your eye on a virtual landscape. In the case of our campaigns we’ve associated strong images with colors associated in the mind with environmental consciousness.

Evelina: You try to exploit every medium to its fullest. In the case of banner ads, you can leave them static or animate them. Compared to posters that you read from a distance, banners are more immediate and work to catch the user’s full attention.


These were only a few of the examples of how to communicate and promote environmental sustainability with creativity and strength.

Does your municipality have green thumbs?

We can help you develop a brand for marketing campaigns supporting environmental sustainability.


At Moskito Design we love to develop bespoke brand campaigns for clients with green thumbs.


Marco Conti is a copywriter at Moskito Design. He loves reading and journalism, is always curious and has a great passion for sports and a strong attraction for Ireland. He's a beer aficionado, loves latin dance and building model cars.