Greenpeace handles perfectly its communication on social networks
For the past year, Greenpeace regularly is at the heart of buzzes on social networks (You Tube, Dailymotion, Facebook, etc.) by publishing parody videos and humorous clips that denounce the un-environmentally-friendly behaviors of major international companies. Under pressure, the companies put under the spotlight were forced to negotiate with the association in order to save their image.
March 2010: Greenpeace parodies Nestlé’s Kit Kat advertisement to denounce the use of palm oil by the food industrial. The video spread online and Nestlé stumbled in a clumsy and completely un-adapted response on Facebook. The company was in the end obliged to provide answers to Greenpeace two years later.
June 2011: Greenpeace buzzes online once again through social networks by announcing that Ken had broken-up with Barbie because she actively participates in the deforestation of Indonesia. Mattel reacted very quickly by promising to better control the constitution of its packaging.
July 2011: Greenpeace spins a Volkswagen advertisement on a Star Wars theme by blaming the automotive group of “being on the dark side of the force” because of its lobby activities that bloc legislations on climate change. The video spread online, Volkswagen is trapped also…
Greenpeace’s communication strategy on social networks is well defined and very efficient and seems to work every time.
According to Alex Renaudin, communications director of Greenpeace France, « after the failure of Copenhagen, we defined that one of the means that could help change things was to call-out major companies on environmental issues.” This explanation does not reveal Greenpeace’s true know-how of social networks. Greenpeace is not truly reaching out to major companies but to internet users! The ONG manages to rally them by adopting a communication format that suits them and makes them react. It is the outburst of reactions that signs the ONG’s triumph.
Spins of videos, parody, and derision are communication tools very wide-spread on social networks. Copyrights and the respect of intellectual property have little weight on internet faced to the culture of mix-mashing, to the will for freedom, of creativity and of contestation of the established order. By using the same codes, the same language, the same humor and by taking the same liberties than un-professional social networks users, Greenpeace puts all the chances on its side to win its cause, have companies react, and therefore put pressure on them.
Overwhelmed by the negative buzz on their practices, the major companies usually panic and do not know how to react. Often not at-ease with social networks, they have a hard time defending themselves with the same tools used by Greenpeace. Groups, for example, have too much of a tendency of wanting to copy-past their corporate messages on social networks even though they are not adapted to this type of media. Annoyed by their lack of control over users’ comments, they often end up making things worse by appearing not open to dialogue and disdainful. They then only see one way to re-establish things: negotiate with the association that accused them, providing therefore victory to Greenpeace.