Greenpeace is a fairly polarizing organization. They have plenty of fans, yet plenty think the outfit is extreme and occasionally kooky. One thing I think you have to give them credit for, is online video marketing savvy. The environmental group has turned aggressively toward video in the last two months, and their latest target is auto manufacturer, Volkswagen.
You might remember a few weeks back, when Greenpeace created a rather pointed attack on Mattel and their best-selling toy, Barbie, with a spoof video. Apparently the packaging for Barbie somehow contributes to deforestation, according to Greenpeace. But even though you might not have agreed with the ad's message, I think most people in the video marketing industry would give them good marks for concept and execution–after all, that video has over 300,000 views and grabbed all kinds of press.
Greenpeace Spoofs VW Star Wars Ad
And now Greenpeace is going after Volkswagen, for pollution. And this time, they're going even more overt with their parody. You might remember that Volkswagen scored a huge hit earlier this year with their Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial. If you somehow haven't seen it, take a look:
With all the praise and awards that video won–not to mention the 40 million views it got online–you can see why Greenpeace chose this ad as their spoof target. And again, you don't have to agree with the message to see that the parody is dead-on:
Both videos were launched yesterday, and the first one is rapidly gaining viewers–it's over 130,000 already. The second video isn't doing quite as well, but is climbing and already has 13,000 views.
Of course, neither ad will ever match the view counts of the spot they're spoofing. But that's not necessary. Greenpeace is looking for publicity for their cause, and these videos are getting enough views to convert into lots of free press–they got me to write about them, didn't they?
Brands Spoofing Brands
Do I agree with the ad? Not at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure Volkswagen makes a lot of environmentally-friendly vehicles, as do most modern automakers. If you ask me, Greenpeace should be targeting the average consumer, who keeps buying gasoline engine cars instead of electric and hybrid vehicles. How is Volkswagen any more a polluter than Ford or Toyota? Could it be that they just had a better (and more popular) preexisting commercial for parody purposes?
But for our purposes, I don't have to agree with the message to praise the strategy. Lots of viral videos have found their success by imitating, spoofing, or referencing current events or elements of popular culture. It's only natural that the brands start getting in on the act by parodying other successful branded videos.