Whatever you may feel about this weekends’ Wikileaks exposure of military data pertaining to the war in Afghanistan, you can be certain that we will be seeing more of the same kind of exposure at the brand level.
After the drilling accident in the Gulf of Mexico, BP has been pilloried up and down the line over its PR blunders all the way up to its ham-fisted attempts at photoshopping its own documents. Basically, Joe & Jill Public have everything they need at their fingertips to search for brands that are doing good, and brands that break their pact for doing good with their customers will hear about it very quickly. A quick Google search for ‘brands doing good‘ brings back 49.5 million results.
Now along comes the Conspiracy for Good project. Founder Tim Kring explains what it’s all about:
A few years ago I started thinking about an entirely new way to tell a story, far different from traditional TV. I didn’t just want to talk about “saving the world” in fiction, I wanted to create a narrative that spilled out into the streets. One that you could live inside of for a while. How cool would it be, I thought, to create a story that exists all around you all of the time? — On your laptop, your mobile phone, on your sidewalks, as a secret message hidden in your favorite song or while standing at the bus stop on your way to work. And, taking it further, what if your participation over a few weeks or months actually impacts the story’s development and creates positive change in the real world because a philanthropic mission is integrated into the narrative itself?
The Conspiracy For Good is the culmination of this dream. This is the pilot project for a first-of-its-kind, interactive story, that empowers its audience to take real-life action and create positive change in the world. Call it Social Benefit Storytelling. To achieve this, I need you to participate. Reality and fiction have to blur.
Every story needs a villain, so we have created a worthy adversary, one whom you have already been introduced to in the blog section on this site. And every story needs a hero. That’s where You come in.
As part of the Conspiracy For Good you will join a collective of thinkers, artists, musicians and causes, creating a unified voice to fight the forces of social and environmental injustice. This is our site, where together we can follow the story and discuss our dreams, hopes and ambitions, all while building a community that focuses on changing the world for the better, one person and one action at a time.
I’d say the Conspiracy for Good is, well.. good.
I Googled ‘BP Oil Spill’ this morning and noticed that the very brief [0.21 of a second] search returned 419,000,000 results. As you might expect most of the linked articles are less than supportive of BP. As devastating as this accident will turn out to be for the surrounding beaches as well as the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, the only positive thing that could possibly come from this disaster is that it will surely shine a spotlight on our over-indulgence in fossil fuels and what that means – not only for the environment but for the generations that will follow us.
Critics have pointed out, that as demand for petroleum products keep soaring while known oil field reserves keep shrinking, drilling companies in the Gulf such as BP have to take greater risks, drilling at far greater depths under more hostile conditions; in other words at depths that threaten the integrity of their rig’s technology and engineering capabilities, while creating safety hazards for the rig workers and the environment as they go about the business of supplying this insatiable demand.
Obviously we can’t continue along this path for ever. Something has to change.
For decades we have been warned by scientists, geologists and many others, that our dependence on fossil fuels would become a fool’s errand and we ought to have been paying more attention as oil resources become depleted. As our known oil reserves start to run dry more drilling is not the answer – we should have been pushing harder and much earlier for renewable energy. Even President Obama is pushing for change, and a cursory scan of Google using the term ‘renewables’ brings back 35 million results. Maybe the needle can now be moved that much faster toward a higher usage of renewable energy.
Here at North we are lucky to have as one of our clients, Portland General Electric, who have been working hard to push renewable energy resources and initiatives across Oregon for both residential and business customers. They also have a dedicated web site, Green Power Oregon, to educate residential and business customers on renewable energy resources.
The company’s efforts in the renewables arena are commendable and they are also winning awards for doing “good” in the community.
It is particularly important for all companies to understand that younger generations are looking to corporate America to lead the way in using some of their profits to aid and protect the environment, as well as supporting projects that benefit the well being of communities.
Portland General Electric was recently named winner of the 2010 Edison Award, the electric industry’s most prestigious honor. The award was for their partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in creating a Selective Water Withdrawal (SWW) Structure, a 273-foot-tall intake facility that attracts fish traveling downstream, a fish intake and bypass project at its 465-MW Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project dam that provides safe passage for the fish to be sorted and transferred.
The SWW is the only known floating surface fish collection facility coupled with power generation in the world. PGE also continues to explore wind and solar options across the state. Wind energy comes from these sources.
There is a lot going here. It starts with a man-made disaster. It’s followed by a ridiculous round of sloppy PR messaging and then inter-company in-fighting and finger pointing to try to assign blame. Now include the multiple failed attempts to stop the flow of oil from the sea bed and you have the makings of a social media disaster. No wonder BP was brandjacked. Here’s a typical tweet from the brandjacked BP Twitter account – “If you’ve ever wanted to take a dump in the ocean, now is your chance. #whynot? #bpcares”