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Posts Tagged ‘Greenpeace’

Carson of Downton Abbey Makes a Creepy Santa Claus in Greenpeace PSA


Before you ask: no, Carson will not be replacing Brody on Homeland.

Greenpeace recruited everyone’s favorite sexually repressed butler to spread the message about climate change by posing as Santa and warning that his home in the North Pole will soon disappear (and take Christmas along with it) thanks to the melting of Arctic ice.

As noted on the group’s blog, the campaign includes a “Save Santa’s Home” petition, though you’ll have to forgive us for wondering how giving the org your contact information will help curb climate change. Vladimir Putin isn’t going to listen to Madonna and Jude Law, no matter how many millions of anonymous signers they have behind them.

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When Sponsored Content Met CSR and Made Magic Happen

Matt Crenshaw, Mother Nature Network

One thing we can all agree on: PR professionals will spend a lot of time working on sponsored content and corporate social responsibility projects for the foreseeable future.

“Sponsored content” is the hottest phrase in PR and marketing right now, primarily because it means such different things to different people. Yes, it’s a new twist on the classic advertising discipline, but SC can clearly amount to more than BuzzFeed listicles barely related to the product at hand or conspicuous blog posts that hang out at The Huffington Post under the “sponsored story” heading.

Last month we spoke to Matt Crenshaw, president of environmental and social responsibility news site Mother Nature Network, to learn about how his organization has begun to serve clients by combining CSR and sponsored content in one fell swoop.

Why are brands increasing their focus on CSR? 

Well, a recent Cone Communications study found that 80% of people feel that brands have a responsibility to tell them what they’re doing for the greater good, and another study found that brands that put “values” at their core outperform the S&P 500 by about 300%. We all joke about Whole Foods being “Whole Paycheck”, but they are really a lifestyle platform based on “values”, and they’ve done a great job of taking this niche movement and making a big business out of it.

What role can sponsored content play in this equation?

We live in an age where brands need to tell a story and hit you on an emotional level. MNN wants to be the Whole Foods for content: if you’re AT&T and you want to reach the high-value, socially responsible consumer, then you don’t talk about a discount on your phone, you talk about these tablets you created for kids on the autistic spectrum to help them learn. So MNN created a documentary series about it:

Of course, at the end it’s “AT&T: Rethink Possible”, and it’s clearly labeled “content provided by AT&T“, but our role is to say “here’s the story behind the brand.”

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Greenpeace Pulls A So-So PR Stunt at Shell’s Formula One Event

We appreciate Greenpeace‘s goals. We really do. Our species can only rely on fossil fuels for so long, and our tendency to ignore problems until long after the tipping point arrives does not bode well for the future of the planet on which we live. We have no doubt that drilling for oil in arctic regions will lead to irreversible damage to those already perilously fragile ecosystems.

That said, stunts like this one, in which the group snuck into the Formula One racing event sponsored by Shell Oil and installed two automatic banners to promote its SavetheArctic website, won’t do much to convince anyone who doesn’t already support Greenpeace that their goals and methods are the best way to resolve a serious existential problem. How many people at this event pulled their smartphones out to visit savethearctic.org?

Such stunts might work to encourage fundraising, but we don’t know that this is the most productive use of donors’ dollars.

Which Brands’ ‘Green’ Claims Are Legitimate?

Running a green/sustainable/environmentally friendly brand is obviously a big deal now. Following retail giant H&M‘s promises to use its water responsibly (under the watchful eye of the World Wildlife Federation), we figured we’d revisit the issue.

The public is understandably skeptical of such “sustainability” pledges, especially when made by notorious polluters like BP. It’s sort of like Apple promising to stop using child labor to build your iPhone or McDonald’s swearing by “certified sustainable fish” for its seafood McBites: how much of this is for real and how much of it is just another “greenwashing” corporate reputation stunt?

It’s one thing for a brand to release ads highlighting its environmental efforts but, as the Greenpeace Stop Greenwashing project tells us, most of these companies aren’t really all that interested in making their practices more sustainable–especially if they operate in the energy, automotive or forestry industries.

BP is a great example of a brand that just doesn’t have much credibility in the environmental sphere, no matter how many enthusiastic press releases its team writes. Puma, on the other hand, has begun publishing regular accounts of its supply chain’s influence on the environment, making clear that many of its practices have a serious impact and setting related goals that can be measured statistically.

So tell us: which brands do you trust on the sustainability front? While we’re at it, we have a couple more questions:

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Brandjacking: Activist Group Launches ‘Exxon Hates Your Children’ Campaign

One of the few downsides of doing great branding work is that the public’s familiarity with your name can be easily exploited. Thanks to the explosion of social media, “brandjacking” is a growing phenomenon.

In some cases, brands may benefit from being hijacked (see fictional characters like Lord Voldemort popping up with their own Twitter handles, thereby actually promoting the Harry Potter series). But most brand imposters operate with devious intentions: they either want to steal business from the company, purposely damage the company’s brand image, or create clever parody or satire. In the example below, we see a combination of the last two — a clever campaign created with the clear intent of doing harm to Exxon Mobil.

Look and sound familiar? That’s because it’s a virtual clone of recent Exxon Mobil ads like this one. This is brandjacking at its finest (and perhaps most dangerous for the brand being hijacked).

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Greenpeace Street Posters Reveal a Secret

Greenpeace recognized World Water Day (March 22) with its latest stunt, tied to the ongoing Detox program targeting fashion brands. In the clip above, people around the world wipe down posters on city streets to reveal a “secret” about the damage that the fashion industry is doing to the world’s rivers.

In some ways, we wonder if the video isn’t more effective because the organization was able to splice other images like the dirty water in the buckets and the crisp rushing river. It hits home in a way that a passerby, curiosity piqued by the secret, wouldn’t experience.

Greenpeace Asks Nike and Adidas to ‘Detox’

Greenpeace has filmed its own version of a Nike commercial to persuade it (and Adidas) to take steps to disassociate their brands with textile companies in China that are releasing toxic chemicals in the water.

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Greenpeace Files Lawsuit Against Ketchum, Dezenhall, and Clients

Greenpeace has filed a lawsuit against Ketchum and its client Dow Chemical, as well as Dezenhall Resources (formerly Nichols Dezenhall) and its client Sasol North America (formerly CONDEA Vista). The organization alleges that the PR firms and their clients hired a private security firm, Beckett Brown International (BBI), and used “unlawful means” to gather information about the organization and used it to stifle their education campaign.

The lawsuit alleges that BBI was paid a total of $325,000 for their services.

Ketchum spokesperson Jackie Burton told O’Dwyer’s: “We understand that a complaint has been filed. We have not formally received the papers yet and, therefore, cannot speak to any of the specifics in the complaint. We will review it thoroughly and address it in the appropriate venue. As a company that views integrity as fundamental to our values, we take this matter seriously.”

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