The non-profit organization (NPO) Greenpeace is known for guerrilla (marketing) campaigns. The organization recently called on to boycott the company Nestlé. Greenpeace activists infiltrated the Facebook fan page and bombarded Nestlé with calls to stop the use of palm oil in its products.
Background of the Greenpeace action is the use of palm oil in Nestlé's food. According to Greenpeace, for the cultivation of palm oil in Indonesia, valuable rain forest is destroyed. Without the rainforest, threatened species such as the orang-utan use their livelihood. At the annual meeting, Nestlé said to put a stop on the deforestation of the rainforest. However, according to Greenpeace nothing has changed so far.
It is amazing, how easily companies make friends and fans in the social networks (social media). These fans see exactly what the company does - and even voluntary. Fan pages on Facebook can be built within minutes. The company or organization can use these fan pages to publish the latest news, e.g. when a new product is launched. These messages can also be commented on and fans can also upload photos and video.
But this is also a delicate matter, as the sympathy of the followers can quickly turn into the opposite. This can happen, when the company does not do exactly what it promised her fans. Or, as in the case of Nestlé, when another group calls for boycott and undermines the Facebook fan page.
Greenpeace also got attention with the help of a Youtube video about the use of palm oil. This video and also others circulated on Facebook and other social networks as well.
During the annual meeting of Nestlé’s shareholders in Lausanne, Switzerland, in April, Greenpeace activists protested outside the building – in orang-utan costumes. Also posters were put up, in order to get the shareholders’ attention.
Another creative guerrilla campaign by Greenpeace activists was the protest in April infront of the Nestlé headquarters in Frankfurt. Here, Twitter messages from the Greenpeace channel were shown on a big screen – transmitted in real time.
Now, Greenpeace activists brought the matter out in the real world and resorted to a more traditional marketing tool: In several German cities, on to the well known Kitkat chocolate bars from Nestlé, activists put stickers on which a orang-utan calls for help. These actions led to a reaction of local newspapers, which means that even those who did not hear about the protests yet, had been informed. (article in the Halle newspaper, article in the newspaper Donaukurier, article in food-news, article in the newspaper Welt Online)
This shows that guerrilla marketing via new media such as Facebook and Youtube can be combined easily with a rather traditional guerrilla marketing, such as protests in front of corporate buildings and the large-scale distribution of stickers. The connection makes sure that those to whom the social networks on the Internet are still foreign and therefore have not taken notice from the ongoing actions on Facebook and Youtube will also get to know about the problem.
As a company, you should always remember that the Internet does not easily forget and that masses are being addressed through it. In future, companies hopefully will put capable employees in those positions that address marketing, communication and public relations for social media, in order for the company to react more intelligently. For Nestlé it is too late now: Nestlé’s credibility is gone and Greenpeace has probably managed to damage the reputation of the company and the brand Nestlé long term – damage to the image of the company can not be repaired easily.