Claims that FMCG giant Simplot may have pressured on an out-of-home company to tear down a ‘Reject John West’ billboard are circling the company, as Greenpeace questions Simplot’s roll in the ad’s removal.
Independent Outdoor Media (IOM) took down the anti-John West ad yesterday following “commercial pressure”, according to Greenpeace who said IOM would not reveal where the demands originated.
“John West’s owner, Simplot, has enormous media-buying budgets and Greenpeace wants to know whether or not Simplot has pressured IOM to take down the billboard targeting it,” Nathaniel Pelle, Greenpeace’s Oceans campaigner, said.
IOM and Simplot had not returned B&T’s request for comment at the time of publication.
The billboard, which read ‘John West Killer Deal – RejectJohnWest.com’, was pulled down after only seven days.
The ad, which was due to run for four weeks, was positioned near John West’s Melbourne headquarters.
“Given the focus of the campaign and the proximity of the billboard, Greenpeace is calling on John West owners Simplot to clarify whether it, or any of its commercial partners, exerted pressure on IOM to end the public campaign,” Pelle said.
“If John West has a problem with Greenpeace’s campaign, they’re more than welcome to take it up with us. We’ll be happy to stop the campaign about their destructive fishing practices when they pledge to change their ways.”
Greenpeace has now purchased a mobile billboard carrying its ‘Reject John West’ message to roam Melbourne’s streets.
The activist group launched the campaign to highlight what Greenpeace has labelled the brand’s “destructive fishing methods”. John West uses ‘fish aggregating devices’ (FADs) which Greenpeace said results in a 10% “bycatch” of sharks, baby tuna, sting rays and turtles.
The campaign censorship allegations come one week after Greenpeace accused John West of blocking overseas social media users from viewing its Australian Facebook page.
The local Facebook page has been stormed by comments urging the brand to stop using FADs.
Late last week Greenpeace launched a games app, called Ocean Apocalypse, to add to its petition campaign materials, which includes a remake of John West’s ‘Into the Woods’ television ad.
The app is based on the popular Fruit Ninja game and gives players axes and knives to kill sharks, sting rays, baby tuna and turtles.
Greenpeace unleashed its movement against John West after the brand launched its new television ad in early October.