Or as they say outside of the Roman Empire, Deeds not Words. Its a saying thats been around a while. And an ethos that is to be commended, celebrated and encouraged. So, when I sat down with a copy of the Guardian in Saturday I was faced with an existential crisis of massive proportions.
Honda had “taken all the advertising space in the first 11 pages in Saturday’s Guardian (and an entire ad break on Channel 4) as part of its campaign to get more members of the public to be “do gooders” regarding the environment” (see the full article here).
Brilliant sentiment, gorgeously illustrated. Made me want to watch the ad (which is sweet and cute and well, lovely)… until… it went on… and on… and on… page after page after page.
By page 11, I was steaming mad. Mad that Honda had just highlighted to me how much paper is wasted in those pages every Saturday with ads. Mad that what was a sweet story of discovery and action had turned into a rambling Oliver Stone epic; and most of all mad because if Honda REALLY wanted to do something for the environment then why not make a statement, buy the ad space and not print anything at all.
Imagine an ad-free paper, with a nice “Brought to you by Honda”. Save the 5 pages per Guardian you used with your pretty pictures.The PR you would get! The readers would have thanked you. The trees would have thanked you (5 pages x 1.24 million – the average daily readership). And you would have been making a difference, instead of just making a noise.
Don’t get me wrong, as I said, beautifully executed work and the sentiment couldn’t have been more right, but its saying green rather than doing green, and both client and agency should have spotted that. In comparison to the Fiat Eco Drive, which is actually helping their drivers use less CO2, its just a load of hot (achingly beautiful) air.