Greenpeace V Shell Via Lego: The Building Blocks Of A Successful Campaign

Greenpeace V Shell Via Lego: The Building Blocks Of A Successful Campaign

This story was originally published by

In light of Lego cutting ties with Shell due to the Greenpeace campaign, Toby Miller from The Conversation looks at the way the marketing campaign forced the end of a decades long partnership.

SHARE
THIS



In light of Lego cutting ties with Shell due to the Greenpeace campaign, Toby Miller from The Conversation looks at the way the marketing campaign forced the end of a decades long partnership.

October 9 2014 was a big day in eco-activism: Lego announced that it would not renew a product-placement deal with Shell, following concerted pressure from Greenpeace as part of a campaign to ban Arctic oil exploration by attacking firms associated with such activities.

It is a common tactic of major energy companies to engage in collaborations with companies such as Lego as part of their quest for what they call a “social license” to operate. That means winning local, national and international community support.

For its part, Lego benefits from the money that comes with product placement; as per a James Bond movie, the producers defray their costs well in advance of sales to customers by accepting funding from firms that want to be associated with a happy, friendly, trustworthy image.

In this case, the firm is Greenpeace’s sworn enemy, Shell. As a sub-plot, Lego has been boasting of its green credentials.

On July 1 2014, Lego said: “A co-promotion contract like the one with Shell is one of many ways we are able to bring Lego bricks into the hands of more children.” It went on:

The Greenpeace campaign focuses on how Shell operates in a specific part of the world. We firmly believe that this matter must be handled between Shell and Greenpeace. We are saddened when the Lego brand is used as a tool in any dispute between organisations.

Now, Lego’s tune differs:

We continuously consider many different ways of how to deliver on our promise of bringing creative play to more children. We want to clarify that as things currently stand we will not renew the co-promotion contract with Shell when the present contract ends.

We do not want to be part of Greenpeace’s campaign and we will not comment any further on the campaign. We will continue to deliver creative and inspiring Lego play experiences to children all over the world.

This is, surely, one of those moments when a big but pusillanimous multinational corporation withers in the face of critique from a gallant but small non-government organisation – when activism trumps business, ethics triumphs over size, and scale is helpless in the face of righteousness.

It has been hailed by Greenpeace true believers as “one of the most high-profile victories in its history” thanks to “guerrilla tactics”. The organisation itself immodestly announced in an email to its supporters that: “Today was a great day for the Arctic, and for people power.”

But was it? Perhaps this was a smart, sophisticated, well-heeled multinational marketing campaign, undertaken via a vast network, using the services of advertising agencies and borrowing trademarks and copyrights to make a political point?

Is this actually about what happens when multinationals fall out, when two vast companies (Shell and Lego) are separated by another powerful not-for-profit multinational (Greenpeace) revelling in the fantasy that it is David taking on Goliath? One version of these events might read: Greenpeace has not achieved very much in its critiques of Shell, so it went after a soft target. Lego caved in, the victim of a form of secondary boycott.

While the charity argues that its grassroots campaign and direct-action pranks were crucial, one might also say that “wot won it” was a couple of ingenious videos.

The first and most popular took music, words, images, and logos from one of the most successful films of the year, The Lego Movie, to create a post-modern pastiche aimed at the heartstrings. The second, artier and less direct, was targeted at parents.


Everything: not awesome.

The first, a brilliant video trope, worked magnificently and has become a case study for ad agencies. As the industry bible AdWeek put it, Greenpeace took “a page from Chipotle’s marketing playbook – haunting animation plus a distressing cover of a well-known song”.

Other actions, such as a few children building anti-oil Lego figures in central London, some adults climbing models at a theme park and fun Lego figures placed in protests across major world cities, were minor irritants at best, drawing predictably minimal press coverage but incarnating a grassroots legitimacy that appeals to donors and old-fashioned activists from pre-social media eras.

But even as the triumph occurred, Shell was luxuriating in Pele’s endorsement of it for providing “the world’s first player-powered community football pitch in the centre of Rio Di Janeiro’s favela”.

It will take more than a sophisticated stunt by vanguardist apparatchiks to answer Pele. And it won’t be the action of a brave wee David against a big nasty Goliath – more a contest between rivals for multinational space and control. Greenpeace is well-placed to participate, thanks to its vast resources and smart links to ad agencies. But is people power one more marketing tool in this admittedly worthy struggle?

The Conversation

Toby Miller is married to a Greenpeace campaigner and donates to the organization

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Agent99 PR Adds Product of the Year Awards To Client Stable
  • Marketing
  • Media

Agent99 PR Adds Product of the Year Awards To Client Stable

Independent communications agency Agent99 Public Relations has welcomed new client Product of the Year Australia to its stable, supporting the awards to increase visibility and awareness. Product of the Year is the world’s largest consumer-voted awards program for product innovation. It currently operates in 31 countries with the vision to guide consumers to the best […]

News Corp Unites Women’s Lifestyle Brands Under ‘With Her in Mind Network’
  • Media

News Corp Unites Women’s Lifestyle Brands Under ‘With Her in Mind Network’

News Corp Australia’s chief digital officer Nicole Sheffield today announced that the company has united its women’s lifestyle brands under the With Her in Mind Network (WHIMN). The publisher claims it will make it the largest digital women’s network in the country reaching a unique audience of 1.954 million. Left to right in main photo: MelissaWilson (Kidspot.com.au), […]

VML Destroys Leos At Paper Dragon’s Inter-agency Ping Pong Spectacular
  • Advertising
  • Media

VML Destroys Leos At Paper Dragon’s Inter-agency Ping Pong Spectacular

VML has retained its championship title by defeating Leo Burnett at film production firm Paper Dragon’s 2017 Inter-Agency Ping Pong Spectacular. Paper Dragon in association with Trolley’d and in support of RUOK? hosted its 2017 Inter-Agency Ping Pong Challenge on Wednesday September 13th during RUOK? week. Teams from dozens of agencies registered with their puntastic team […]

Crownbet Unveils ‘Better Way to Wager’ In New Campaign From The Monkeys
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Crownbet Unveils ‘Better Way to Wager’ In New Campaign From The Monkeys

Demonstrating to Australian punters that when you select CrownBet, you’re choosing a more superior punting experience, the online betting platform has released ‘Better Way to Wager’ in a new campaign created by The Monkeys. The integrated campaign emphasises CrownBet’s ability to offer punters access to a world of premium rewards, and a world-class and more […]

SUVs & Small Cars Drive Growth in Automotive Ad Spend: SMI
  • Advertising

SUVs & Small Cars Drive Growth in Automotive Ad Spend: SMI

Australia’s SUV, micro/small cars and automotive parts/accessories categories reported the biggest increases in advertising expenditure in the second quarter of 2017, while the total automotive category grew its ad spend in the same period, according to new data from Standard Media Index (SMI). Reflecting the popularity of SUVs, the category grew its ad spend by […]

PR Agency Fifty Acres Doubles Size In Six Months Through National Expansion
  • Marketing
  • Media

PR Agency Fifty Acres Doubles Size In Six Months Through National Expansion

Strategic communications and engagement agency Fifty Acres has proven its virtual workplace model is a success, doubling in size in just six months across Australia. Established in 2010 by managing director and Women in Media Awards 2017 winner Jo Scard (pictured above), Fifty Acres works with industry associations, corporates, government agencies and departments, national organisations, […]

RACQ Launches Banking Arm & Brand Platform Via Clems Brisbane & UM
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

RACQ Launches Banking Arm & Brand Platform Via Clems Brisbane & UM

The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) has launched RACQ Bank, along with a new brand platform, ‘more for members’, developed with the help of Clemenger BBDO Brisbane and UM, and produced by Kiosk and Alt.vfx. The campaign uses a 3D Google Tilt Brush effect to visualise that the more we want in life, the […]

How To Leverage Search & Brand Like A Digital Marketing Ninja
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

How To Leverage Search & Brand Like A Digital Marketing Ninja

Search is on the increase, which brand specialist Peter Field has labelled “short-termism undermining long-term success in advertising”, but this opinion piece by sbFlourish CEO Jessica Sullivan (pictured below) explains in true ninja style how to use the intel from one to leverage the other. Today’s marketing ninjas don’t think of spending on search and […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
TEG Announces Joint Venture With Chinese Ticketing Company
  • Marketing

TEG Announces Joint Venture With Chinese Ticketing Company

Australasian ticketing, live entertainment and data analytics company TEG has announced it has entered into a joint venture with Chinese counterpart YongLe. The joint venture will see TEG and YongLe launch a cloud-based ticketing and entertainment platform in China. The platform, expected to be launched in 2018, will be branded YunTek, which translates to ‘cloud […]

Streetfighter Media Launches Millennial Sampler Bag Offering For Brands
  • Marketing

Streetfighter Media Launches Millennial Sampler Bag Offering For Brands

Guerrilla marketing company Streetfighter Media has unveiled a new service designed for brands who want to engage Millennials straight after they attend a music gig.  Kicking Television is a white cotton tote bag, filled with products and goodies – and it’s given to Millennials for free. How does it work? The bags, with their unapologetic […]

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart
  • Media

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart

Zenith Sydney's Karen Halligan has pulled-up stumps, although that's not to infer bad light had anything to do with it.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands
  • Marketing
  • Media

PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands

PR agency Hotwire has rebranded, yet sadly not to "Hot Cocks Who Rock Your Socks Off". Which would've been far cooler.

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia
  • Advertising

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia

After a competitive pitching process involving five agencies, Torrens University Australia has appointed challenger agency VCCP as its new brand strategy partner and creative agency for 2018. Acclaimed for its work on dynamic brands including ING and Compare the Market in the financial services sector, Laureate Australia CMO Anne Da Cunha said VCCP’s reputation as […]

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director
  • Advertising
  • Technology

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director

AI advertising company GumGum has announced the appointment of Sarah Baskerville as its sales director for Victoria. Baskerville joins GumGum from Ansible, where she spent two years as its Melbourne mobile director. Prior to joining Ansible, she was head of specialist sales and partnerships at News Corp Australia, and also held a number of sales […]

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland

McCann Queensland’s second instalment of ‘The 5th C’ campaign launched over the weekend for online diamond retailer The Diamond Concierge, which received over 47million views around the world in the first 48 hours of it being released. In this second phase of the campaign, The Diamond Concierge gave away an $85,000 diamond ring, with Gold […]

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins
  • Marketing

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins

Digital marketing agency Sparro has announced the appointment of Hannah Jones (pictured above) as a key account director following a spate of client wins. Jones joins Sparro’s senior team alongside founders Cameron and Morris Bryant, overseeing a portfolio of accounts that includes Webjet, Domino’s Pizza, TAFE NSW, Temple & Webster, F45 Training and Bing Lee. […]

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry
  • Media

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry

In an industry facing change, Jacqui Mooney, editor of Women’s Health believes brands such as hers will continue to be a constant. Please note: this article was contributed by Magazine Networks. The magazine industry may be seeing substantial change but Jacqui Mooney has a goal that remains firm: to create happier, healthier lives for Australian women. […]

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums
  • Marketing
  • Opinion
  • Partner Content

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums

Is your game chainsaws or large marlin wall-hangings? Can't seem to attract the mums? This couldn't come soon enough.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Network Ten Creditors Approve CBS Deal
  • Media

Network Ten Creditors Approve CBS Deal

It seems the fight for Ten between CBS and media moguls Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon may finally be over.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine