Chevron recently released their new “We Agree” ad campaign. The TV and print ads equate the concerns of ‘real people’ to those of the multinational oil corporation, illustrating their solidarity with costumers’ and our interests in stopping environmental degradation often caused by the industry. More over, the “supermajor” oil company channeled the wheat-paste, street-artist look typically associated with low/no budget activist posters rarely found in glossy magazines and on network TV commercials. So clearly something’s up. An oil company appropriates the look of a social justice campaign for one reason and one reason only: greenwashing.
Greenwashing: a technique used to conceal the giant flashing neon sign that reads ‘we build our business by manipulating you into thinking we’re environmentally conscious!’ Greenwashing. It’s vital to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies and products are safe and clean. When you sell the one product that has been singled out as the most harmful to the environment and the future of the planet, there’s a certain degree of marketing genius required to alter the feelings associated with the reality of the product.
“We agree … There is a lot of common ground on energy issues if we take the time to find it,” said Rhonda Zygocki, vice president of Policy, Government and Public Affairs at Chevron.
Well, we don’t agree … we’re suspicious.
And so were the YesMen. They preemptively hit jounalists’ inboxes the morning before the ad campaign went live with their own spoof-ad campaign. The political pranksters collaborated with Amazon Watch and the Rainforest Action Network and together, they managed to derail the entire Chevron campaign by creating an alternative press release on Chevron’s behalf. The spoof offered suggestions and solutions, sans greenwashing, that consumers might really agree with, using the headline “Radical Chevron Ad Campaign Highlights Victims.” The actual Chevron press release read,“Chevron Launches New Global Advertising Campaign: ‘We Agree’.” And Chevron was the perfect target for the YesMen’s honest rebranding remix strategy.
The Huffinton Post and Funny or Die got involved and then the YesMen turned to us to make our own spoofed remixed ads with a call for mash-ups. We made our own print ads and you can too! Here’s a link to the photoshop file and typeface. The contest also includes video remixes which we’ll be posting next week. Make sure you act fast as the contest ends soon and if you’d like to support our collect digital dissent but production isn’t really your thing, just vote for your favorites from the comfort of your internet browser here.
Image credit: Elisa Kreisinger
Image credit: Jonathan McIntosh
This is a two part blog post. Next week, we’ll feature the video remix results of the contest.