In April 2008 Greenpeace launched a new campaign to protect the rainforests of Indonesia from the expansion of the palm oil industry.
In the UK for the launch; NVDA trained Active Supporters dressed as Orang-utans climbed the London headquarters of Unilever, while 60 others overran the Unilever factory at port Sunlight.
London commuters discover what Dove is doing to the rainforests In the same week active supporters in London 'discovered’ subvertised adverts on the underground, as large stickers had been placed over more mundane adverts.
Shortly afterwards active supporters in local networks across the UK organised local campaigning events, on the high street and at local fairs/festivals, spoofing Unilevers adverts for Dove – the ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’.
A typical event lasted 3-4 hours, and would involve 4-6 active supporters campaigning around a pasting table with a Greenpeace tablecloth, campaign leaflets, sign up cards etc.
Active Supporters in Rochester borrowed an Orang-utan from the office Once we had setup, we’d then approach passing members of the public using an opening / stopping line – “Would you like to sign our petition to stop the rainforests being destroyed” - seemed to work quite well.
Assuming someone was interested enough to talk, we’d pitch the three key messages, from the main briefing we’d be given, i.e.
- Dove soap contains palm oil. Unilever, the company behind Dove, buys its palm oil from companies which are destroying Indonesia’s rainforests to grow it.
- Indonesia’s rainforests are vital. They are one of the last places on earth where you can find endangered orang-utans as well as many other species and they are also home to millions of indigenous people
- In addition, they are also really important for the climate. Indonesia is now the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas in the world after the USA and China. This is mostly down to deforestation.
Adverts spoofing Dove appeared in national newspapers We’d then answer any questions, again using the Q&A from the main briefing, and ask the person to join our photo petition i.e. to have their picture taken against a white backdrop, holding a speech bubble, mimicking the Dove adverts.
After the event, well…… we went to the pub.
But then after the pub, we then sent a press release, based on the template in the main briefing, to the local papers, and then uploaded all the photos from the day to our Flickr page, and then by email to Unilever’s CEO.
Within a month, and after 1000’s of pictures had been sent through to Unilever, the company agreed to Greenpeace’s demands to call for a moratorium to protect Indonesia's rainforests from destruction at the hands of the expanding palm oil industry.