Bags are a huge marketing tool. I confess that I could recognize a Nordstrom, Macys, Tiffanys or Gap bag on a dime. They are free marketing for the company, and even more than that they symbolize an amount of consumer status. When you receive your overpriced cotton sweater, wrapped in branded tissue, and then placed into a crisp shiny bag, you feel shiny and new, empowered, and accomplished. Stores have relished on this tool, making specialty bags for different occasions, sales, and store events.
This is an unexamined component of the paper/plastic bag debate, how do we stray from the use of bags as marketing tools? This is a realm of changing how are society perceives value, and what trends can be pushed an sustained. An article entitled "Putting the bag into branding" (New York Times) discusses how companies can use their bags as a way to promote branding. It is a genius idea, but it is no longer sustainable, which parlays into the idea of companies adopting more sustainable ways of bag branding. One company that has done this very successfully in the northwest is Lululemon athletic wear. They use their reusable bags to promote their branding and their core mission as a retailer.
We can only hope that this becomes the trend nationwide, because how do you change someone's mind when they have no stakes? Popular cultures and trends will do the trick.
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