The dark side of green marketing campaigns

During the last years, there has been a tendency of including green aspects in marketing campaigns of different companies or institutions. These campaigns are mainly defined to highlight some characteristics of a product or service based on their environmental features, for example non-toxic material content, biodegradability features, recycling possibility, energy efficiency, etc. The main objective: to sell more while creating an emotional link between the green customer and the company with a real environmental commitment behind. 
This is in theory, the reality is that the green marketing sometimes turns into “greenwashing” which tries to sell a supposed green product that is NOT green. In addition, companies do not have a real environmental commitment or message to transmit. This greenwashing concept is applied by several institutions, governmental entities, NGOs, companies, etc.

So now I want to talk about two marketing campaigns -not green- but interesting and funny represented in two videos.  The first one is the one of the Force of VW that aims to sell one of their latest 2012 Passat automobile. The second is a campaign from Greenpeace against VW because they didn’t signed some emissions reductions agreements.  I really encourage you to see the videos in a row and then I will comment on them.

VIDEO 1 – The Force VW Video presented at the superbowl. 40 million views on youtube.

VIDEO 2 and 3 together – Greenpeace VW Darkside

We have to recognize that both videos are great. The only thing is that the Greenpeace message is not that clear. Is it to save the planet or is i to avoid buying a VW?. Green messages like “save the planet” or “protect the environment” are not that clear at all. Some solutions and examples of how to do this should also be included. I'm surprised that Greenpeace that usually find "greenwashers" has mixed their messages with a green campaing on their own.

Anyway, I hope that these videos make us think a little more on the power that marketing has to transmit messages to customers like you and me. If the issues is to reduce CO2 emissions by not buying a car, i think that we have to be a little more critic. 

For the particular case of transport sector innovation is required from car manufacturers to reduce GHG emissions. This will cost lots of money but they will do it if there is people willing to buy a low-emissions vehicles and to reduce their emissions too. We need people committed to be more conscious on evaluating the environmental performance of vehicles in terms of CO2 emissions or fuel efficiency, before buying or using them.

Ps. Probably you will get problems watching the second video as “Lucas Films” has demanded Greenpeace and have forced them to retire them from youtube. 


  1. Well actually the original video its a bit longer with a text at the end "VW its threatening our planet by opposing cuts to CO2 emissions"
    so that will re focus the GP effort to his cause and not a mere anti corporation propaganda, but the problem its again.. deeper, oil fuels, we need them, doest matter how bad points they have, we still need them... I would like a technological change, beyond hybrids I would like a real transformation, but thats in the future...


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