Greenwash Effect in Public Relations

BY: JAMIE LEVY

Environmental pollution and global warming is an issue around the world and people everywhere are beginning to take action and become more environmentally conscious. Small changes go a long way and help better the environment, such as actions as simple as turning off the lights, saving water, and recycling

 

This global change is impacting the world of public relations by leveraging this shift to positively promote businesses. Many companies are following this environmentally sustainable trend and incorporating it into their business model by following environmental conscious business practices, providing sustainable products, and implementing programs that give back. It is great that businesses are taking action, but what is in it for them is how they share and promote these changes they are making. By incorporating these actions into their communications strategy, they are able to promote to customers how great and world conscious their brand is. Resulting in a consumer that feels better about themselves and the environment when using their product.

 

A company that did a great job of communicating this environmentally sustainable message to their consumers was Sodastream. A product that reduces plastic waste by making soda in the comfort of your own home. They executed a campaign that leveraged April Fools day using Paris Hilton as their “celebrity endorsement” in their spoof advertising campaign. They did an outstanding job making their prank feel like a “real” product. They were able to get an endorsement from an academic professor and launched a fake website and Facebook page a few days before the advertisement launch. Once the ad was launched they made it clear that it was a joke to ensure there was no confusion from viewers.

 

 

The ad begins with Paris Hilton addressing the issue of plastic waste affecting animals globally. She then explains her solution of NanoDrop, a fictitious sparkling water product that will reduce plastic waste. They then explain that it was a mistake and introduce the reveal of the product Sodastream, sharing how making soda at home reduces plastic waste and saves the environment.

 

“I loved working on this campaign as it delivers a really important message in a funny way that empowers everyone to make better choices and promotes a healthier and sustainable way of life,” Hilton said in a statement. The campaign was done by creative agency Allenby Concept House and was able to gain attention in a very overcrowded branded April Fools day prank space. This was an extremely creative way to address the issue of environmental pollution and promote their product in a funny and engaging way.

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Jamie Levy is a junior studying Interpersonal Communication and Advertising with a serious passion for public relations. On the weekends you can find Jamie at the yoga studio, on the beach or playing with her dog Charlie. Follow her journey on Twitter at @jamielevy28.

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