Gen Z Green: The Brand Marketing Shade of the Moment
We cannot say for sure what Eden looked like, but it was probably green. Jan Brueghel the Elder’s “paradise landscapes” from the European Renaissance expressed his vision of Eden in every single chlorophyll variant naturally possible, in the sea of trees stretching to infinity, in the ultramarine surface of a swan-flecked lagoon, and in some blues and golds. But mostly greens. The Tree of Knowledge is painted in hundreds of them, moss and olivine and sunlight-on-broadleaf, each one whispering Eve into the first recorded act of conspicuous consumption.
And today? Refined with time and technology, our greens have just gotten better, cooler, richer, lusher, and more attention-grabbing than ever. Eve would flip at the gardens of Versailles or at Spotify’s Stockholm headquarters. We cannot say for sure how she might react to the beauty and wellness market of today — where a new, Generation Z green has begun to sprout in packaging and branding — but it’s safe to say she would probably lose her mind.
It’s eucalyptus but fernier. It’s Granny Smith but younger. It’s Pharrell’s Humanrace Skincare, packaged in plasticine emerald, or the waterlogged kelp of OffCourt’s performance body spray.
Safely Cleaning Goods, recently introduced to the market by model and author Chrissy Teigen, park themselves in various pastel corridors of the lime family, ensuring a cool distance from its more radioactive cousins over at Monster Energy and Xbox. Lower the volume a little bit, and you have a universal crowd pleaser — a shade that everybody is happier to see. Blue may be the most popular color in the world (apparently, according to some psychologists) but, if you’re being honest, you’d rather see green. Green is secure. Green is good. Green means go — and good luck! Green is the only color that is also a human virtue. Green is a leafy side salad, humming with nutrients.
Your average green-loving person has probably “been called a ‘do-gooder,'” wrote Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone Edition. “You are a caring companion, a loyal friend, partner, and family member, and are supersensitive about doing the right thing and embracing a cause you feel is right.”
Gen Z is nothing if not green, as they organize to save the planet they hope to inhabit until adulthood. Despite research suggesting that Generation Z is not more or less inclined to activism than Generations X and Y, they are significantly more engaged in matters of climate change, and the majority factor “greenness” into their purchasing habits. Gen Z is also green; aged between 9 and 24, they are currently aging into the workforce and bringing their value systems with them. Others are skipping the corporate pipeline and starting their own beauty companies entirely.