It’s amazing what passes these days for political protest and legitimate issue campaigning.
In an extraordinarily futile gesture, Greenpeace campaigners on bicycles turned up outside the South Melbourne office of advertising company Whybin/TBWA* after the agency was awarded the global advertising account for the ANZ bank.
The effort was reportedly part of the Greenpeace climate change campaign and was supposed to protest against the ANZ providing financial support for the Australian coal industry.
The business website Mumbrella reported it was the first time any NGO has targeted an agency as well as its client in Australia.
But the gesture fell completely flat. Mumbrella had a photograph of two (yes two) protesters on bikes outside the agency’s office, and Greenpeace admitted agency head Scott Whybin was out when they called. Moreover neither Whybins nor the ANZ bothered to comment and, apart from Mumbrella, the stunt was completely ignored by the mainstream media.
The only real heat generated by this little effort appeared in comments posted on the Mumbrella website, some of which were pretty angry and unrepeatable, and certainly did no favours at all to the Greenpeace cause.
Someone called James, seemingly linked to Greenpeace, responded: “This visit was a really small part of a broad campaign to get ANZ to live up to their PR – and an even smaller part of the campaign on climate change. Just to be clear, we aren’t targeting the agency, rather talking to them about the campaign because we believe they can influence ANZ to some extent.”
The notion of an advertising agency influencing corporate policy provoked this blunt reply from another correspondent: “The ANZ corporate direction is set by the bank itself. The agency merely works to deliver that in an effective and engaging way. They (Greenpeace) may as well picket the ANZ rubbish collection firm.”
Take that, Greenpeace.
*Whybin/TBWA is part of the global TBWA Group