Greenpeace has hijacked Mattel’s Ken as a spokesperson for its recent campaign against corporate participation in rainforest destruction. More than 180,000 people viewed a spoof video of Ken breaking up with Barbie over rain forest destruction. The video, featured on various nations’ Greenpeace sites as well as on YouTube, was translated into 18 languages. This pits the world’s largest toy company against the world’s largest environmental group in a battle that is being fought virally. The video claims that Mattel is using packaging derived from Indonesian rain forests to wrap its Barbie and Ken dolls and other toys and in the process, destroying these natural resources and home to endangered species.
Using the power primarily of social media, Greenpeace, which has 2.8 million members and offices in 41 countries, has updated their website to allow visitors to send a letter directly to Mattel’s CEO to protest, as well as continue to permeate the message via reTweets and likes on Facebook.
Greenpeace, who is also accusing other toy manufacturers such as, Lego, Hasbro and Disney, is really aiming their guns at forestry giant, Sinar Mas and its Asian Pulp and Paper division, a frequent target of previous Greenpeace campaigns. Instead of a direct confrontation with Sinar Mas, Greenpeace cleverly kidnapped Ken as a spokesperson and has had a viral success story.
The fight continues on Barbie’s facebook fanpage which has been under attack. Negative comments permeated the site over the past couple of days, so much so that Mattel has deleted most of the negative comments and no longer allows fan to comment on their site which has over 2 million likes. Unfortunately for Mattel, they were not able to control comments on the @Barbie Twitter account since they do not own the site.
Corporate social responsibility is a BIG issue and Mattel who appears to have a policy in place got caught in the supplier net. Their response on their website is: “While we appreciate Greenpeace bringing this important matter to our attention, we were disappointed that they took such an inflammatory and unconstructive approach, considering the open channels of communications we had already established. Mattel does not support deforestation nor does it contract directly with Sinar Mas/APP. We purchase packaging materials from a variety of suppliers and it is not the normal course of business to dictate where suppliers source materials.”
Unfortunately for Mattel, not good enough. Greenpeace has a strong following and social media is adding a very large bullhorn to their voice. Add to that plastic fantastic spokespeople and it is a campaign that doesn’t kid around.