Attendees at my workshops and seminars know my views on the two brilliant Dove videos that were deliberately ‘viralled’ via YouTube and clever targetting of ‘sneezers’, Seth Godin’s term for influential bloggers and media outlets who would help a ‘virus’ (in this case the video) spread fast and wide.
Greenpeace’s version shows the power of attaching a new meaning to an already successful meme and subverting/converting an audience already comfortable with the original. It is a brilliant tactic which, when it works, brings powerful results. But did it work for Greenpeace in this instance?
As Greenpeace say on their own website,
Greenpeace’s forests campaigners were invited to meet with senior executives at Unilever headquarters on Friday 9 May 2008. In just two weeks the company had received tens of thousands of protest emails from around the world, seen Greenpeace activists bring hoards of news media to their buildings in the UK, Netherlands and Italy, and watched our viral video "Dove Onslaught(er)" take off faster than anything we’ve ever done before. Public pressure moved them.
Yes, it guess it did. They go on to say,
Greenpeace campaigners will work with Unilever for the next six months (starting May 2008) to bring together a major coalition of companies to make the moratorium a reality. We will see at the end of this period how things are progressing and if we need to change our campaign approach.
If others in the palm oil industry are smart, they’ll follow Unilever’s lead. There’s no excuse for wasting time now, so any industry slow-learners could be our next campaign target.
Which, to me, is a HUGE wake-up call to ANY organisation that is involved with environmental issues. If you don’t want to be a target of a clever video that destroys your public reputation in one minute and 26 seconds (the length of Greenpeace’s ‘Onslaught(er)’ video) then you need to start working with your audiences now.
If you want, my team and I can help you. Just ask…
And thanks again, Anna, for being both a wonderful contributor in those two days of workshops, and for supplying me with such great videos (Anna also supplied the brilliant call centre video!)