Yes! You’ve read correctly! Everyone’s favourite couple, Ken & Barbie, call it quits!
Like you, I was quite confused when I saw the headline of the video roll in yesterday’s class on what unfolded to be a dynamic PR campaign by Greenpeace – the largest non-governmental activist network – to end Mattel’s (the makers of Barbie) use of paper packaging for their toys. The group unleashed what I believe was an A-MAZING PR campaign which, based on the subsequent response by Mattel to stop using packaging from AAP (Asia Pulp and Paper), definitely was a success!
Greenpeace began their campaign by launching an in depth forensic research study into the production and the chain of supply of Mattel in an effort to track down the source of the packaging materials used.
The campaign then begun with a YouTube video of Ken being interviewed on his relationship with Barbie. A lovestruck Ken is disheartened when he learns that his belle, Barbie is “trashing rainforests in Indonesia, including areas that are home to some of the last tiger, orang-utans and elephants, just so she can wrap herself in pretty packaging” (Greenpeace). The video then shows clips of Greenpeace officials hanging huge banners from Mattel’s headquarters in California (I’m a sucker for risks!) which blasted the company for supporting deforestation and destroying the Indonesian rainforest – while telling the world of the big K&B break-up as a result.
Greenpeace has reported that Mattel has now stamped a statement on its new packaging proclaiming their disassociation with companies who support deforestation. The toy company has also implemented a policy which urges its “suppliers to avoid wood fiber from controversial sources, including companies “that are known to be involved in deforestation”.”
After browsing Greenpeace’s website, it appears that the company is no stranger to gripping PR campaigns, having released a 2010 campaign targeted at Nestlé’s chocolate bar, Kit Kat, for their use of palm oil from Indonesian rainforests. The video featured an office worker inadvertently biting into an Orang-utan finger instead of a Kit Kat bar (Quite repulsive! But certainly effective!). The video was named the 2010 “Best Viral Video” at the Viral Video Awards, Berlin International Short Film Festival.
Peep the Barbie and Ken: Break-Up video (short version):
Have a Break? – Greenpeace’s Kit Kat Campaign video: