Greenpeace continues to lead the way amongst environmental NGOs in harnessing the power of social media to spread campaign messages.
Environmental NGO Greenpeace has once again demonstrated its creativity at using social media to generate negative PR against an oil company. This time they have turned their attention on Chevron, launching a mini-site focusing on Chevron’s operations in Ecuador. Greenpeace has described Chevron’s activities their as violating the human rights of the indigenous people.
The mini-site looks like a film or computer game promotion, focusing on individual Chevron employees and presenting them as a ‘crack team of hitmen’ whose only aim is to employ ‘dirty tricks, intimidation tactics, and shady legal manoeuvres’ to avoid cleaning up the damage Greenpeace says Chevron has caused.
This actionfollows on from Greenpeace’s larger campaign against the company – ‘We can change Chevron’ – and is, Greenpeace says, a direct response to Chevron’s recently filed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit in the U.S. federal court against an Ecuadorian community accusing Chevron of water contamination.
What is most interesting about this new mini-site is the very personal approach Greenpeace is taking with their provocative ‘hitmen’ label. The NGO has used intentionally goading aliases such as ‘legal vultures’ Andrea E. Neuman and Randy M. Mastro and ‘Dirty Trick’s Guy’ Diego Borja to describe individual Chevron employees they allege to be involved, while at the same time being creative visually by displaying their exposes in the style of a hitman’s brief – taking a leaf out of film promoters’ books to enliven their legal battle. These are very bold tactics on the NGO’s part.
Like all Greenpeace campaigns that have come before (as mentioned in my earlier blog, Facebook vs. Facebook) there is also a Twitter page (1,356 followers) and a Facebook page (4,025 followers), as well as the ability for visitors to the site to share the campaign on multiple social media platforms.
Greenpeace and other environmental NGOs are proving themselves adept at using social media to mobilise support and disseminate information. BP experienced firsthand the ability of an NGO to outclass a corporate in the use of social media to spread information on a reputational disaster.
All those who risk NGO attentions in the future will need to think carefully about what they communicate and most importantly the platforms they are using if they are to keep up with the social media savvy NGOs.