Public Relations

Impactless Advertising

Image Credit : Gemeente Utrecht

Brussels, Eurostar Departure Lounge, 14:00 CET : Face to face with a huge glass-fronted display of crumpled blue bottled-water bottles, red soft drinks cans, white paper plates, paper cups, serviettes and assorted detritus. All shaped to form a Union Jack. Tasteful. A “Never-Mind-The” punk cut-out letter style message in the centre reads “Welcome to Green Britain”. Reflected in the glass : advertisements for Fossil Fuel companies Total (“Our energy is your energy” – yeah, at a cost) and ExxonMobil (“We’ve always looked for new energy…” – yeah and you’re not finding it so much these days).

My questions. First : why does “green” have to be associated with “recycling” ? Why is “green” always associated with “recycling” in the British public mind ? Who made sure that the concept of “green” was so strongly associated with the activities of “recycling” in the British public mind ? “Recycling” is so strongly connected with “green” in the British public mind, that people don’t think about anything else (like walking instead of driving).

Secondly, why do the major Fossil Fuel companies have to advertise ? What do they hope to achieve ? Why do they need to be so “current” in the British public mind ? Their products aren’t “new” or in the realm of “new formulation”. Their “discovery” quota keeps going down, and there’s no real “refinement” of the technology. It really is a mystery why they think they need to get their names on the wall…”Train now boarding…”

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