So addressing the demand side of environmental responsibility (i.e. wearing sweaters indoors and reading by candlelight) is truly only half the equation. And, unlike making the sometimes moral argument to temper demand, the supply answer is pure, agnostic good business sense: efficiency equals less waste, which means for sales and profits, generally. IBM is in a position to really make a difference in the environmental debate, in a way that makes simple sense to people irrespective of their philosophical predilections.
All of which makes the newspaper ads IBM is running on the topic so utterly senseless.
If you read the Wall Street Journal you've likely seen them, even if you don't remember doing so. The series features some large abstract image that takes up almost half the page, and then a long paragraph of text that ends with an inspirational and motivating line like "to learn more, go to web site so-and-so." I think I've seen ads for the water and electricity management ideas, but I'm not sure. The ads don't really make sense, and they require too much work to read anyway.
Most branding is an attempt to attach an imaginary benefit to a product or service that might not legitimately deserve it. In this case, it's the opposite: IBM is obfuscating with some creative interpretations an activity that deserves to be grasped, understood, and maybe even celebrated. There are lots of ways people could get engaged on the subject, only none of them are utilized in the communications strategy.
It's as if IBM wants to keep its big idea a secret. I wonder why?