New Greenpeace campaign targets VW—and the campaign is bound to fail

Unlike previous efforts against Mattel and Nestlé, the environmental group’s campaign against the automaker has set goals that are far too broad.

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I had thought this was something Greenpeace grasped based on the success of its campaigns targeting Nestlé and Mattel. From Nestlé, Greenpeace chided the company until it stopped buying palm oil obtained from the rainforest where the habitat of the orangutan was threatened. Meanwhile, Mattel switched suppliers—and developed a new, green procurement policy—to buy packaging materials that don’t come from companies using objectionable logging practices.

Now, however, Greenpeace has launched a campaign against Volkswagen that uses many of the same elements. But in this case, the objectives are broad and certainly not as actionable as changing one thing.

The tactics included taking over some U.K. billboard advertising and launching a YouTube video. They organization is also using cultural references, this time the Darth Vader TV commercial Volkswagen ran during the Super Bowl. The ad went viral on YouTube, having been viewed more than 40 million times.

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