Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Greenpeace lays siege to Unilever ad agencies

Greenpeace lays siege to Unilever ad agencies

Marketing Week (UK)23-Apr-08

Greenpeace is lobbying marketing services agencies for the first time in a shift of its strategy. The environmental groups targeted Unilever agencies Ogilvy Advertising, Jackie Cooper PR and Lexis this week as part of a protest against the company’s use of palm oil.

Greenpeace says it intends to “ratchet up” activity against such agencies in the coming months. A Greenpeace spokesman says: “We are trying to persuade Unilever’s marketing services agencies that they are doing Unilever’s dirty work for it by greenwashing its brands.”

Earlier this week, protesters, some dressed as orangutans, infiltrated Unilever’s Merseyside headquarters, while others gathered at its London offices.

They created billboards parodying Unilever’s Campaign for Real Beauty, and a viral spoof of Dove’s Onslaught video has been released showing scenes of environmental destruction. It ends with the line “Talk to Dove before it’s too late”.

The action coincides with a Greenpeace report, which blames the expansion of palm oil production in Indonesia for destroying vast areas of peatland forests and bringing orangutans to the brink of extinction.

The report, Burning Up Borneo, claims that Unilever, one of the world’s largest purchasers of palm oil, continues to trade with suppliers that destroy rainforests.
Unilever chairs the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an industry body formed in 2002 to ensure sustainable production.

The Greenpeace report claims that many of the companies accused of rainforest destruction are key members of the RSPO.

A Unilever spokesman says the company agrees that the issue of sustainable palm oil is an “important one” and that it is working on ways to address it. But he admits the work of the RSPO is “not moving as fast as Unilever would like”.