Greenpeace Australia Pacific BLOG

Hi Choke, nice try!

Posted on May 20, 2013 by Alex Harris

Poor Coke. Their PR team must be having a hard time of late – but to be honest, they brought it on themselves.

Australians were utterly astonished when the fizzy drinks giant took the Northern Territory Government to court over a recycling scheme called ‘Cash for Containers’. This scheme has been running successfully in South Australia for over 30 years where recycling rates are more than double that in the rest of Australia. It’s really simple, for every bottle recycled, consumers will receive a 10c refund.

As a result thousands of people took to Coca-Cola Australia’s Facebook page to advocate their support for ‘Cash for Containers’ and ask Coke to back down.

At first Coke ignored the mass of wall posts, but then they started playing with words and responded by calling the world’s most successful recycling schemeold fashioned and “inefficient”. They even went as far as calling the 10c mark up on Coke products a “tax” . Here’s what one recycling supporter thought of this:

To bring attention to Coke’s lobbying tactics we created this spoof ad:

Hundreds of Australians chipped in to see the advert air on TV so we could bring it to the attention of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell. Barry holds the key to this campaign. With Governments in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the NT supportive, we really just need Premier O’Farrell’s support to see a national scheme get over the line.

But Coke’s massive advertising budget got in the way. First Channel 9 dropped the ad, deeming it “inappropriate”. Then Channel 7, SBS and Channel 10 followed suit. The media attention that followed from Channel 9’s decision to drop the ad sent our ad soaring to the top viewed video on Youtube in Australia on the 11th May.

And last week, the ad hit the US thanks to the Huffington Post.  Coca-Cola may control the media, but we’re going viral! What a #CokeFail!

If that wasn’t enough, Coke then got desperate and took over the Google Adwords keyword “Greenpeace”.  For those not familiar with Adwords, companies can bid on keyword terms in Google which means their advertisement will appear in a yellow box above all other search results. If you Google “Cash for Containers”, “Container Deposit Scheme” or “Greenpeace” Coke’s advertisement will come up as the first listing – how SNEAKY!

Not to be outdone, we thought we’d hit back with our own Google Adword. Can you pick it?

If you’re not familiar with the benefits of a national ‘Cash for Containers’ scheme, here’s the low down.

Want to get involved? Here’s a few things you can do.

  • Tell your MP that the time has come for a national ‘Cash for Containers’ Scheme.
  • Contribute to Coke’s PR Fail – leave a message on their Facebook page advocating your support for a national ‘Cash for Containers’ scheme.
  • Share our Coca-Cola ad – help us reach 1 million views, we’re not far off.
  • Send Barry O’Farrell a tweet @barryofarrell and ask him to get behind Cash for Containers.
Blog post by: Alex Harris
Alex Harris is the Communications Officer at Greenpeace Australia Pacific. She was also one of 30 people who were imprisoned in Russia at the end of 2013 following a peaceful protest against Arctic drilling.
All blogposts by Alex Harris
  • Wjs

    Seems Greenpeace doesnt look at the bird pictures put up in the video. A Container deposit scheme will do nought for those birds. Saw alot of buttons and other plastic items more so than coke or the CDS’s target producer’s products. If Greenpeace got mature regarding this issue a proper debate and solution could be pursued. The CDS is an inefficient and ineffective way to address the majority of the waste – thats the point and fact. So sorry but sick of the greenpeace spin and BS

  • Elise M

    Surely Coke can attest to money as a motivator…

    People who don’t appreciate nature don’t deserve to enjoy the air, water, materials and beauty it provides.