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Gables Pressler: Not-So-Green Marketing

Posted by Rosepixie on October 22, 2009

This is a brochure that I got in the mail from an apartment complex called Gables Pressler.

The front:

Gables Pressler 1

The inside:

(click on the images for full size)

The text on the front reads:

A Community in Your shade of green

Gables Pressler

The inside lists these “Green Amenities”:

– Stained concrete and bamboo flooring

– Granite countertops with stainless appliances

– Computer nooks and bookshelves

– Verdant courtyard and large pool

– Washer and dryer in each residence

– Hybrid car electrical outlets in parking garage

So clearly this apartment complex is trying to sell itself as being Earth-friendly.  The problem is that I’m not convinced.  First of all, this brochure is printed on glossy, high quality cardstock that in no way appears recycled (and is not marked as such anywhere).  It also came in a clear plastic sleeve.  Seriously.  A plastic sleeve with a gummed down flap.  Doesn’t that scream “Green”?  There is a little disk (that blue circle in the picture) that is apparently embedded with seeds and will grow flowers when planted.  That’s a very cute touch, I must say, and likely the reason they decided to use an envelope.  But why not use a cute recycled paper envelope with their logo on it instead of the wasteful clear plastic?

The “green” amenities don’t really impress me either.  The only feature listed there that actually strikes me as “green” (unless you want to be literal and count the garden) is the hybrid car outlets in the garage.  Now, if you read into the giant block of rather uninviting text it also lists they provide energy efficient appliances, “organic interior finishes” (I’m not sure what makes interior finishes “organic” and suspect that it’s as subjective, since “organic” isn’t a very well regulated term), and solar shades.  And if those are really what they claim, that’s potentially more Earth-friendly than many apartment complexes.  That said, that rooftop garden must use a lot of water (not to mention the pool and on-site dog bath).  Despite the promise of concrete floors, which sounds decidedly unappealing, this place sounds more “posh” and “snooty” than it does “green”.

The biggest impression that I got from this brochure was that someone missed the point.  I don’t know if it’s the people behind the complex itself, which would imply some problems with the complex itself (or at least with the idea that it’s really Earth-friendly).  This might just be a disconnect is with the marketing people (who I assume probably aren’t even connected to the apartment complex), which only implies some really dumb marketing that should never have made it to press.  Since all I have to go on is the marketing, I really don’t know which it is.  I hope it’s the marketing and I hope someone learned from this and decided to hire a different marketing firm in the future.

3 Responses to “Gables Pressler: Not-So-Green Marketing”

  1. Eva said

    Rooftop gardens don’t necessarily need to take any more water than gardens on the ground as long as you plant things appropriate for the climate (and optionally you can set up systems to collect excess rain water for dry times). That said, I think you’re right that the rest of this sounds like total marketing BS.

    • Rosepixie said

      The only reason the roof-top garden stood out to me is that Austin has just started to pull out of a drought and I spent the summer watching my apartment complex waste huge amounts of water on the lawns around their office to compensate while the local paper published articles about how to conserve water in your home. My dog is only just learning that rain isn’t scary because she basically never saw any for the first six months of her life. And my understanding is that while this was a slightly more extreme drought than usual, rain is not terribly common here for large stretches of time. The city sometimes shuts down when it rains because it doesn’t happen often enough for them to be used to dealing with it (Michael’s first paycheck was four days late because it was raining and FedEx wouldn’t make deliveries). This isn’t the city for roof-top gardens (at least, not as a “green” amenity).

      • Eva said

        It’s too bad that your apartment complex has chosen to grow a garden that requires so much water. There is a movement in landscaping at the moment to use more native plants that will be more hardy under native conditions for pretty much that reason. You can have really pretty gardens without pouring buckets of water on them everyday if you accept that you can’t grow a stereotypical image of a pastoral scene, but rather need to grow something that matches your location.
        (there’s a good article on the This Old House site as well, but I can’t find the link right now ):

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