Volkswagen recently advertised themselves as an eco-friendly corporation, with playful and illustrative style in their TV spot here...
But Greenpeace pounced on them.
Something should have twigged your mind in that first sentence to be honest. Hold on! A car company claiming they are doing good for the planet?! I don't think so.
Greenpeace launched a campaign called 'The Dark Side', using Star Wars as a theme to start a rebellion.
The simple matter is that Volkswagen are saying they want to be the greenest car manufacturer in the world but they're not backing up their actions. What they are doing is funding lobby groups who are trying to stop Europe passing key environmental laws and targets. Greenpeace argue that as Volkswagen are the biggest car company in Europe, they have the biggest responsibility. Fair point.
But the campaign itself I find a little weak personally. After the initial controversy when Lucasfilm™ removed their spoof from YouTube under copyright laws and were lambasted as 'hating the environment' (i.e. it was a talking point), the whole theme actually becomes a bit weak.
The website shows a counter displaying the 'number of Jedis™ that have joined the rebellion' and they've put the VW logo on the Death Star™. They even had Storm Troopers™ handing out leaflets in Shoreditch. All very creative but I still don't think it communicates the aims, it ends up connecting a much-loved film series with Volkswagen, which is exactly what they had paid for in one of their recent TV ads.
Greenpeace won't name the creative team or agency behind the campaign as it said it would "distract from the message", possibly because they've been paid a hell of a lot of money, taking charge of a marketing budget that launched in fourteen countries around the world. Call me cynical but how much does it cost the planet to make hundreds of Storm Trooper™ outfits? And Lightsabers™?! That's serious CGI!!
However I did notice that this agency with the big budget was also switched on, knew their buzzwords and noticed an opportunity for 'user-generated content' in some form. I noticed this film competition Greenpeace were also running on the website. It allowed users to upload their subversions to the website, encouraging the production of 100s of virals. You can vote online now and I've just picked one that undermines the original advert in one slick move. It gets the message across and I would even say it's pulled off the aesthetic better than the original. I give you "Think Blue. Comedy"...