Sponsored Protest II: ibuyeco and Climate350
Image credit: ibuyeco
Is it me or is corporate activism getting more common? And by activism, I don't mean planting trees or issuing press releases about your recycling program - I mean standing up for political change. From Apple leaving the US Chamber of Commerce over its climate change stance, to Timberland teaming up with the Dirty for Swain campaign, forward thinking brands are freeing their inner activist and standing up for positive change. The UK green-minded insurance company ibuyeco is definitely in this category - having already sponsored the UK arm of Parking Day, the group is now stepping up to fund a major outdoor concert for the Climate350 campaign. But it's not just what you do, it's how you do it. Organized by a charity called The Converging World, the concert will be held in Bristol, UK, and will feature bands, dance performances and speeches, alongside opportunities to sign up for and get involved with the Climate350 campaign - which will be coordinating 350 performances by local and national musicians held in the days leading up to the Copenhagen climate summit.
On the one hand, I'm delighted to see the private sector standing up for what's right - heaven knows there are enough corporate entities working behind the scenes for less auspicious goals. But I can't help but cringe a little when I receive press releases about an important campaign event like this that include a blatant pitch about the sponsor:
"At ibuyeco, we understand that many people have to have cars as part of their everyday lives and hope that with our donations to environmental charities, carbon offsetting initiatives and hints and tips, our customers can do their bit to make their lives more environmentally friendly."
Admittedly this pitch is followed by a paragraph about the campaign itself, but my marketing radar had already switched me off. Whether or not it compromises the event itself is debatable - we all know that these things cost money, and that money has got to come from somewhere. But I'd suggest corporate sponsors would be much better off putting their name to an event - and then concentrating on the political message at hand, not their marketing. (I don't remember Apple leaving the Chamber with a press release detailing the specs on their latest MacBook...)
Trust me, consumers will reward you for it. Or am I alone in this pet peeve?