Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The "debate" that won't die

Interesting discussion with Chelsey this week about our Christmas tree myths page. Here is a sample:


From: Chelsey
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 4:06 PM
To: info@realchristmastrees.org
Subject: Christmas Tree Facts Page


Just so you know, I got on your site for information on real trees. I’ve always had a fake tree, and have never had a problem. However, since they’ve lately gotten more affordable, and we just bought our first home, I thought a real tree would be nice this year. Now I’m not sure because reading your “10 myths about real Christmas trees” piece was a real turn-off for me. You are incredibly derogative to “fake tree people”. Really?? Just state the great things about owning a real tree instead of insulting the very people that you are trying to convert. There are plenty of ways to say the same thing in a positive light. When your goal is to persuade someone, you want to convince them, not offend them. Left such a bad taste in my mouth that I think I am reconsidering my decision. Just FYI

Thanks for the feedback Chelsey. We’ve gotten some interesting and varied responses to that section from all over the world.

From: Chelsey
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 4:26 PM
To: Rick Dungey
Subject: RE: Christmas Tree Facts Page

You’re welcome. I work in advertising, and studied a lot in persuasion through college. And to persuade someone, you want to cater more toward them and give the benefits of the other view point, without “demeaning theirs”. It’s much more effective! Facts are always the best, without using too much personal interjection - not that you can’t have fun with it! If you cater to the people that already buy real trees, you won’t increase your business…which really is the whole point, right?? :)

Thanks for the response. Always nice to know when someone actually reads the “contact us” emails…

Yeppers, I’m certainly a real person. This will be my 13th season working for the Christmas tree association. One thing to keep in mind, NCTA is a non-profit association, and not a for-profit business. Our members of course are business owners. Our budget to fulfill our mission of promoting the use of farm-grown Christmas trees is certainly small, as many non-profits’ are. And certainly MUCH smaller than any fake tree companies’ marketing budgets. We do the best we can to do just what you suggest, which is to get facts to families so they can make informed decisions about a farm-grown tree versus a plastic tree. While I am glad to hear your take on the mythbusting page, I would steadfastly submit that all facts on the page are proven facts and are clearly distinguishable from any editorial writing on my part. It has clearly been effective too, as you can see from a fake tree company’s copy-cat site put up shortly after our myths page appeared. http://www.christmastreeassociation.org/

It’s a struggle the tree farmers and retailers have been engaged in with plastic tree importers for almost 40 years now. Fake tree ads for years have included things like “real trees can burst into flames” and “buying an artificial tree saves forests” …totally false claims like that. Much of the feedback on the myths page has been in the vein of “it’s about time the farmers started fighting back”. …like I said, it’s been interesting.

Good luck in your search. I would recommend maybe a 1- year get a fake tree, and the next year get a farm-grown tree approach, so you can make a comparison and decide for the future. But I simply can’t in any capacity recommend using a plastic Christmas tree. My opinion is biased, and I make no bones about it.

Thanks Chelsey. And just to clarify, it's not "fake tree people" that bother me so much, it's the fake trees that bother me. What do you all think of the Christmas Tree Myths page?


or this?

Not much of a debate in my mind.

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