Greenpeace’s VW ‘Dark Side’ campaign

Joseph Maduma
July 10th 2011
VW Darkside Cover 1

It appears that VW have been saying one thing and doing another! After making the ambitious statement of aiming to be ‘the most eco-friendly car maker in the world’ in their  2009 sustainability report, Greenpeaceare now calling them out as in fact funding lobbying against key environmental laws in Europe, whoopsie. Furthermore the firm is criticised for not using its ‘BlueMotion’ environmentally-friendly technologies as standard across its range of cars to help reduce fuel consumption and fuel costs for customers. Just 6 per cent of the cars it sold in 2010 were its most efficient models.

The Dark Side campaign expertly parody’s VW’s  ad which is the most successful viral internet ad in history, clocking up over 40,000,000 views on YouTube after being shown at this years Superbowl! Cleverly integrated, the campaign launched with a PR stunt and a nice bit of culture jamming, deploying a team of Storm Troopers down to Silicon Roundabout in London’s Old St. While the Storm Troopers spoke through megaphones and handed leaflets to the public, a crack team of Greenpeace campaigners scaled London’s most prestigious ad space and hung four billboard banners featuring Darth Vadour (see video below). Being perfectly strategically placed in the tech hub of London, thousands of tech savvy commuters on their way to work started tweeting under the hash-tags   and  which immediately started trending world wide. Through the PR stunt alone Greenpeace managed to gain 2000 new facebook likes in 12 hours. Pretty good going.

VW Darkside Cover 2

The spoof VW ad is very funny (at the top of this post) and includes kid forms of Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Princess Leia and a Jedi Knight. The comparison of VW to the darkside is an easy one but well executed. Even going as far as a VW branded death star! The online game and social media campaign is then very cleverly woven in encouraging people to sign up to the ‘Rebel Alliance’ and become a Greenpeace Jedi. When you sign up they send an email to VW on your behalf asking them to stop lobbying against the emission cuts. You are then treated to part two of the viral video campaign and invited to take part in the online ‘Jedi training’ game. For each person that visits your page you get one point and for each person that joins as a result of viewing your page you get five points. All the copy is on point and the Star Wars terminology is used well to keep the message fun and consistent, allowing you to grow from a ‘Baby Ewok’ to ‘Yoda’ and eventually win a limited edition T-shirt.  But it’s not all lampooning and finger pointing from Greenpeace as they state ‘We feel the good in VW’, encouraging followers to make VW see the error of their ways and get back on track to being ‘the most eco-friendly car maker in the world’.

Let’s hope the campaign can turn VW away from the darkside and back to fulfilling their potential to be a green leader in their industry. To find out more and become part of the ‘Rebel Alliance’ visit the Dark Side hompage. Also if you are feeling charitable please help me fulfill my potential and become a Jedi master by visiting my training page .