Environmentalists are truly a unique breed; they are so driven and passionate about their causes and they see failure in apocalyptic terms making them very effective as campaigners and willing to employ any method that might aid them. One of the most renowned and well established organizations in the field of environmental activism is Green Peace International, which is celebrating its 40 year anniversary this year and which has expanded its network of volunteers to upwards of 2.9 million. Its causes are varied from protesting nuclear testing to saving the sea-life and campaigning for the preservation of endangered species.
Last year, the organization celebrated another success in the form of its Orangutan Campaign, which was one of the most successful social media marketing campaigns of 2010.
[warning the following video is graphic and is not suitable for all ages for its display of blood]
What is it about?
Nestle’s KitKat chocolate uses palm oil as one of its ingredients. In order to extract palm oil, some of the suppliers resort to activities that contribute to the destruction of the tropical forest which serves as the habitat and home for many endangered species and amongst them is the Orangutan.
Green Peace recognized offending suppliers, like Indonesian Sinarmas, and decided to put pressure on Nestle to stop these practices. So they formulated an offline and online campaign to will help it achieve its goals.
In its approach, the organization decided to parody one of Kit Kat’s most iconic commercials, “Have a Break, Have a Kit kat”, and instead of eating Kit Kat fingers the consumer will be gnawing at some fresh orangutan fingers. The cringe worthy video surely gave people something to talk about and helped the video go viral. It also raised awareness about the issue at hand and people used Facebook and Twitter to let Nestle hear how they feel about their usage of palm oil.
Green Peace didn’t only rely on the online aspect of the campaign, it also protested creatively in front and inside Nestle’s Annual General Meeting. A group dressed as Orangutans protested outside the hall while supporters hid inside of it so that they will drop upon share holders the message of the suffering of the orangutans. They also created a fake conference WiFi hotspot which will redirect everyone who connects to it to greenpeace.org/kitkat.
The Buzz In Numbers
The campaign went viral and during its two months of running it boasted more than 1.5 million views for the videos collectively according the Green Peace blog. The Green Peace Youtube channel has more than 23,400 subscribers and more than 13 million views. Their Facebook fanpage has more than 700,000 fans while their Twitter Account has 136,000 followers. Having already established this fairly large network of supporters it was easy for Green peace to get the message out to them, and did so by utilizing their existing network.
After running for two months, the campaign had finally achieved its goal, and Nestle issued a statement that mentioned how they will scrutinizing their suppliers closely and exclude all those who manage or own “high risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation“. With that, Green Peace celebrated its success in getting Nestle to change its ways by persuading them with the voices of their own customers.
Do still think that couch potato activism is pointless? What did you think of their shock and awe approach? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.