Greenpeace’s new ad, just another drop in the ocean? Marketing Masterstroke or Mistake?

Greenpeace are renowned for their compelling stunts, animated protests and sobering ad campaigns, so it’s no surprise that their latest addition looks a little something like this …

Visibly excited to enter the aquarium, the group of school children are representatives of their generation … the next generation. Once inside they are confronted by the absence of sea life and prevalence of plastics.

Bags, bottles and six-pack rings drift through the murky waters, as the children’s faces turn forlorn. The chipper soundtrack transitions to a darker tune, and cogs in the children’s minds begin to turn.

Items from their kitchens have replaced the penguins, fish, stingrays and sharks they were hoping to see. The exhibition has become a display of supermarket waste.

Aquariums are usually viewed as manicured worlds, brimming with marine life and activity, which gives us a false sense of security when it comes to the real state of our oceans.

This campaign calls for the reduction in supermarket’s plastic footprint, because ocean plastic causes the death of hundreds of thousands of animals every year. In fact, the aquarium exhibit was built using plastic collected from a beach in Ireland the previous day.

The ad informs us that, “UK supermarkets generate 800,000 tonnes of plastic each year” and “A truck load of plastic ends up in our oceans every minute”.

This really is a crisis. The volume of plastic in the world’s oceans is set to double in the next decade, and Greenpeace refuse to sit idly by.

In the final seconds of the ad, we are urged to sign their petition to demand that supermarkets use less plastic.

But do these campaigns, commercials and petitions, actually work?

Well, yes …

Just last month the UK government announced that they are set to ban the sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds, in an attempt to eradicate all single-use plastic products. And while more needs to be done to reduce plastic waste in our oceans, this is a huge leap in the right direction.

Even in Australia, the #BanTheBag campaign was hugely impactful when it was propelled into public discourse by the media, prompting supermarkets to plan their transition to plastic bag free-zones.

So, in terms of effectiveness, these ads work! And in terms of conveying this issue to the public, it’s been done perfectly.

This rousing ad is powerful, poignant and chilling.

For these reasons, it’s a

Marketing Masterstroke


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Written By: Joshua Britt