Green marketing

Greenpeace in the US has produced a video titled, ‘Angry Kid‘. I encountered the video on an otherwise excellent website that tackles the PR industry’s involvement in the murky world of climate change denial. I felt strongly about this one, so posted this comment:

If marketing like that in this ‘powerful’ Greenpeace video is meant to help manifest a positive future, then the video misses the mark. I experience the actor’s attitude as vengeaful, hard, and unforgiving. Of course, this appears intended. But I suggest that playing off the audience’s fears in this way is detrimental. I would understand, for example, if, in response, people would decline to support a future for this character. The subtext of blame and a judgemental attitude are a turn-off. Yes, green marketing that aims to effect change is profoundly difficult. On the one hand, green initiatives try to steer our collective pathway toward a reasonably benign future. On the other, some might think it difficult to do this without warning of dire scenarios. I suspect, though, that the positive future will only come through allure, positive creativity, hope. So how warnings and future scenarios are contextualised and ‘spun’ is critical. What emotions and dispositions reside in our choices of words – and our juxtapositions of characters, voices, story threads? I believe green marketing and storytelling needs to manifest the future through a generous attitude, positive creativity – as well as heartfelt storylines. This Greenpeace video heralds what I would call a bleak, Bladerunner-like future, and nothing better. It misses an opportunity for something dynamic and life-affirming – dispositions, I suggest, that are necessary to remind us of what we need to conserve.

And then this follow up:

I can understand that the video could be experienced as compelling to someone with kids who’s concerned about their kids’ future; I don’t have kids as yet, though do have a niece and nephew. Also, I would understand how the video could connect with Americans who are struck with despair by the thought of George Bush; I live elsewhere, and am not a US citizen. With its reference to the ‘you’re either with us or against us’ Bush speech, the video is probably very close to home in the American community. Yes, it’s a ‘real potential scenario’ that’s very disconcerting. The view that our storytelling in the present does something to manifest the future is one that I think still holds, though – regardless of the audience to whom we speak. I found the video ugly, divisive, and unhelpful for those of us promoting sustainability; instead, I believe we need to foster inspiration, empowerment, and the ethic of invitation. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.


One Response to “Green marketing”

  1. Putting renewable energies into perspective « Sumptuous! Says:

    […] is far more constructive than the Angry Kid video. What it doesn’t do is raise the spectre of the implications for electricity production if we […]

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