Global warming ... arguably, one of the most important challenges of our time.  Whether or not the concept is real, though, everyone knows what it is and most people are concerned about it.  Politicians stake their campaigns on fighting global warming, non-profits build reputations collecting money to stave of disaster.  We teach the idea in our schools and discuss it in coffee shops drinking an 'organic' and 'sustainable' blend.

We all know Halloween is coming, and the last place I thought I'd find the global warming 'brand' would be on my spook supplies.  Nevertheless, there it was in all its glory, stamped on the box of a "haunted mirror."  I usually spend a few dollars on decorations for when the trick-or-treaters come by, but they're so cheap I never really think about what they're made of or where they come from.

Halloween supplies are really commoditized in society.  We don't place much value on them, and shop for the cheapest supplies possible.  After all, they only have to last a month, right?  If you're like me, you probably buy the same supplies year after year just because the old ones wore out.

In a commodity industry, there's little you can do to compete with others.  If you add features, you'll have to raise your price ... and you're already competing on price.  Your safest bet is to compete by selling in volume (give Wal-Mart a call and hope they'll take you on).  This particular product, though, has found another way to compete.

No other Halloween products I could find mentioned sustainability, the environment, or global warming.  At the same time, we all know these are valid, timely concerns.  By mentioning global warming right on the box, the makers of this haunted mirror are appealing to the concerns and values of bargain shoppers.  They are targeting the guy who will buy the day-expired cereal for the 50% discount, but who still donates annually to 'save the rain forest' campaigns.

It's remarkable, really.  One little line on the box, "Reducing Greenhouse Effects," will probably have a real effect on the number of haunted mirrors sold this year.  It plays right into the global warming brand and encourages conscientious shoppers to pick the "best" product in the market over the "cheapest."  In reality, there's no way to verify this claim as no one keeps statistics on the energy usage of haunted mirrors and no third-party has independently verified the data.

So, is this clever marketing, deceitful marketing, or just a gimmick to make a few extra sales?