Clorox vs. Method: Loves Me, Loves Me Not…

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Two brands are fighting over the humble daisy. Mother Earth will not be amused.

Method founders Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan were gently banging the green drum slowly, as early as 2004. Method, whose mantra is “join people against dirty,” was a pioneer in green marketing, creating a product line of non-toxic cleaning agents with pleasing aesthetics and humor to boot. They used the daisy in their brands but didn’t register it with the US Patent Office, believing that particular patent was held by Mother Earth.

Enter Clorox, which in 2008 introduced Green Works, a line of “natural green cleaners designed to compete with the likes of Seventh Generation and Method.”

Green Works was the first environmentally sensitive product line from a major consumer products company. And being a major consumer products company, in 2009, Clorox’s corporate lawyers registered the daisy mark, “consisting of a flower with yellow petals with orange shades appearing toward the center of the flower, green center, and black shadow surrounding the green center.”

As the New York Times‘ Stuart Elliott quipped, it’s petals to the metal time as the companies fight over rights to use a yellow daisy.[more]

Last month Clorox sent Method a letter of cease and desist over use of its yellow daisy, with a deadline of March 19th to comply. You can view Clorox’s letter on Method’s tongue-in-cheeky website, votedaisy.com, where the company is asking users to weigh in on who owns the yellow daisy: Clorox, Method or Mother Earth.

Mother Earth is winning, naturally. Method also is waging their campaign to YouTube, where the comments on Method’s Vote Daisy video above (no surprise) favor the little guy.

TreeHugger.com, an eco-blog which has run advertising from both brands, is backing Method in this fight. “There is no way that Clorox can win this war. They come off looking petty and evil, and forget that there is more to being green than what is in the bottle; business practices matter.”

Green Works’ launch was supported by the Sierra Club and a significant flight of advertising on TreeHugger. Ever since then, Clorox has been giving Method a run for its money.

Now, even if Clorox prevails in this legal spat – and tell us: should they? – Method appears to have won the battle for consumers’ wallets by responding with humor and charm.

So the ball’s in Clorox’s court, as Method isn’t backing down. What’s their next step: Please don’t tweet the daisies?

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