In 1909, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval was introduced, and for one hundred years has provided consumers with an alternate product endorsement when looking for added assurance in the products they buy.
In 1909, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval was introduced, and for one hundred years has provided consumers with an alternate product endorsement when looking for added assurance in the products they buy. The magazine's seal gives the thumbs up on a product's quality and go as far as to offer a full refund from Good Housekeeping should the product be defective.
This year, the magazine took the seal a step further and created the Good Housekeeping Green Seal of Approval in response to our society's heightened interest in environmental issues and sustainability. The seal is based on metrics that evaluate a product's composition, manufacturing, packaging and other attributes from an environmental standpoint.
And now, taking the "seal" a step further, Ladies Home Journal has introduced another award for products called the Do Good Stamp, earned by brands that engage in charitable work and whose employees contribute to the community. So far, eight companies have received the stamp based on a nine question application reviewed by five advisors including Sally Lee, Editor-in-Chief of Ladies' Home Journal, SVP and New York Editorial Director of Meredith Publishing Group.
"Do Good" Stamp recipients and their causes:
Tide - Helping Victims of Disaster
L'Oreal Paris - Ovarian Cancer Research
Burt's Bees - Protecting the planet, Habitat for Humanity
Hard Rock Café - Ambassador Program, Encouraging superstar musicians to give to charities
Lee Jeans - Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Mary Kay - Domestic violence shelters and education
Sonic - Limeades for Learning
Trident - Smiles Across America
Encouraging corporations to make reaching out to their communities a priority is certainly not a bad thing. And the reward for the companies, beyond "do good" personal satisfaction, is capitalizing on publicity from receiving the seal. And for some shoppers, these seals may offer a bonus attraction when making purchasing decisions, which ultimately is the bottom line for their marketers.
However, as packages become more cluttered with seals for this and that, the question is raised how loose is the criteria for receiving the seal, and how loosely regulated are the seals by the government? Most recently, the Smart Choices logo came into question when nutritionists criticized that the criteria were too lax, and the logo was misleading to consumers.
With the Ladies Home Journal "Do Good" Stamp, it's not about something as critical as nutritional claims, but it is about using these seals as an advertising tool that may or may not be misleading shoppers in order to make the sale.
For the eight companies that have received the "Do Good" Stamp, we at SG.com congratulate them for their philanthropic efforts to these important causes. For brands, we encourage companies to take seriously the importance of claims printed on packaging, and be prepared to back them up. Already, questions have been raised about Good Housekeeping's Green Seal Approval - all of the new "green" seals emerging across industries have no collective criteria. Labeling is a sensitive issue in the United States these days, and with technology and social networking sites, should a company not live up to the standards they claim, news is exchanged on a broader scale than ever before.
Although it is wonderful to know that Sonic is contributing to education, what's most important on the food product label is ingredients, nutritional value, and in some cases country of origin and how it was produced.These factors are critical, and we'd hate to think any kind of seal could take the spotlight over these priorities.