Two excellent examples of campaigns ‘thinking outside the box’ when it comes to who they’re targeting with their actions show that we don’t always have to go after the ‘usual suspects’.
At first glance it might not appear an obvious choice, but as the email to supporters explains ‘BP is one oil giant whose logo is splashed all over galleries and exhibition halls like the Tate. By using its profits to sponsor the arts, BP hopes to cover up the horrendous damage it’s doing to the climate and the environment‘.
So it makes a great alternative target for their ongoing to highlight the influence of the oil industry. I’ve noticed this is an approach that Greenpeace employ regularly, another example is the campaign they ran towards VW earlier in the year, and its easy to see how focusing on targets like the Tate helps stop them always targeting the same small group of oil companies who are already likely to be resistant to campaign action but sensitive to changing perceptions of their brand.
The CHOGM meeting, which happens every 2 years, is often rightly overlooked by campaigners, by the team at the Global Poverty Project appear to have capitalised on the increased scrutiny of the effectiveness of these meetings to score a great campaign win. Their success has shown that with the right campaign ask, can present an attractive ‘win’ for the host government which is keen to demonstrate the investment of time and money that goes into hosting the event actually got things done.
1. An imagination – The Tate Gallery or the CHOGM conference might not feel like the places that changes are likely to happen, but with a little bit of imagination it is easy to see how they can become useful campaign targets.
They work because the organisations involved have clearly been prepared to spend time ‘thinking outside the box’ and no doubt investing a significant amount of staff time at really pushing into their routes to influence mapping. A good reminder of the importance of spending real-time in the process of campaign planning.
2. A clear overall campaign direction – The use of the Tate as a target works for Greenpeace, its not simply a case of appearing to pick on the Gallery because its part of a bigger campaign to highlight how ‘BP and other oil giants hope to gloss over their environmentally destructive activities, scrubbing clean BP’s public image’. I’m compelled to take the action because I can see how it contributes to a bigger campaign goal. For the GPP, success at the CHOGM meeting isn’t the end of the campaign, but a launch to call for further action from leaders to help eradicate the disease.
3. Being prepared to take the risk – Both campaigns could have failed. Leaders at CHOGM could have said they weren’t interested in pledging money, while the response from the Tate remains to be seen, but that hasn’t stopped the organisations behind the campaigns making the most of the opportunity.
What other creative targets have you seen organisations focus their campaigns on?
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