Sustainability review platform Wherefrom has reacted to a slew of Mercedes-Benz ads promoting Mercedes-EQ, its line of electric cars. Hence the automaker’s call for greenwashing after Mercedes-Benz associated its brand with the beauty of nature in its ads.
The original ads showed images of nature ranging from a rose to leaf veins, honeycomb and lightning bolts. A circle is placed in the middle of the ads to highlight the Mercedes-Benz symbol. At the bottom of each ad reads “Nothing or Nature. Climate change. It’s already here. Mercedes EQ.”
With its agency 10 Days London, Wherefrom refuted the campaign by showing the reality of climate change and the impact that Mercedes-Benz has on it. The beautiful images of nature have been replaced by drought, oil spills, fires and icebergs breaking away.
“Hey Mercedes-Benz! As gorgeous as these viral ads are, we have other ideas. So 10 Days London and Wherefrom UK tried them out and gave them a more realistic makeover. You know, without the greenwashing,” D’ where said in an Instagram post. “Don’t worry, we won’t mention you being sued for ‘failing to take enough action to address your contribution to climate change,'” he added.
Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz ads seem to have gotten plenty of positive feedback. According to Jolyon White, founder and creative director of 10 Days London, many “ignorantly shared” the adverts and left comments praising them as a “smart”, “wonderful” and “just brilliant” campaign.
He explained on LinkedIn that it is “the most shameless example of greenwashing he has ever seen”. “It’s using the beauty of nature to appear green when the truth is that Mercedes is being sued for not taking enough action to address its contribution to climate change,” he said. As such, 10 Days London and Wherefrom couldn’t sit back and watch as “people mindlessly promote greenwashing” and decided to give the adverts a realistic makeover. INTERACTIVE-MARKETING has contacted Mercedes-Benz for comment.
Last year Mercedes-Benz and BMW were sued by German activists for refusing to tighten carbon emissions targets. According to Reuters, this is the first time German citizens have banded together to sue private companies for negatively impacting climate change.
Greenwashing is an issue facing brands these days and with regulators, activists, NGOs, investors and customers scrutinizing corporate communications, it is sure to have a negative impact on brand image and a company’s reputation if called upon to do so. According to Forrester, greenwashing is just the tip of the sustainability communication iceberg. Beyond that, sustainability issues will also occupy more of the marketer’s workspace. By catering to values-driven customers, companies that embrace responsible marketing will gain a sustainable competitive advantage.
Meanwhile, Milieu Insight’s Southeast Asia survey found that consumers these days don’t blindly trust sustainability claims. In beauty, for example, 67% of the 1,000 respondents will look more for claims on the packaging of their beauty products to find out if they are truly sustainable/clean/ethical, especially those from the Philippines (83% ) and Malaysia (72%). %).
Meanwhile, 42% of Indonesian consumers and 41% of Singaporean consumers said they trust claims on their beauty product packaging to know if they are sustainable/clean/ethical, while only 28% in Malaysia said the same thing.
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