WPP has defended its work for main power corporations, saying it can proceed to assist them with their advertising, after Greenpeace staged a collection of protests at Cannes Lions, together with sending a flotilla of kayaks to WPP’s rented seaside house.
Mark Learn, the chief government of WPP, instructed Marketing campaign that Greenpeace was “proper” to spotlight the local weather disaster however he insisted power corporations wanted to be “a part of the answer” and they need to be capable to “market” to shoppers “in a good and correct manner” in regards to the steps they had been taking to maneuver to a lower-carbon economic system.
Greenpeace was concerned in three incidents at Cannes Lions because the environmental group referred to as for a ban on “fossil advertisements and sponsorship” and urged promoting corporations “to chop ties with the fossil gasoline business.”
First, Gustav Martner, a Greenpeace activist and former Cannes Lions-winning artistic, interrupted the awards ceremony on the opening night within the Palais, the principle pageant venue, on Monday. Then dozens of protestors descended on WPP’s seaside on Wednesday afternoon and extra protestors used a truck ladder to scale the Palais on Thursday morning.
Learn, talking on the finish of the five-day pageant, when WPP was named probably the most artistic firm after successful probably the most Lions awards, described Greenpeace’s protests as an “inconvenience.”
“They’re proper to spotlight the issue of local weather change and the influence of carbon on the economic system,” he stated. “On the identical time, all of us have a job to play in decreasing the degrees of carbon and I feel power corporations must be a part of the answer as a lot as anyone else.
“Our job at WPP is to assist them discuss in a good and correct manner in regards to the steps they’re taking to maneuver to that lower-carbon economic system.”
WPP’s purchasers embody BP and Shell, though Learn didn’t cite any of them by title.
He identified WPP, the world’s largest company group with about 109,000 workers, will solely work with power purchasers that adhere to sure international requirements on carbon emissions.
“We now have stated we don’t need to work with any power firm that seeks to frustrate the Paris Settlement [the commitment to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees compared with pre-industrial levels],” he stated.
Learn added there was a shopper profit for power corporations to have the ability to market their services and products.
“If power corporations can’t market or discuss in regards to the steps that they’re taking to maneuver to a low-carbon economic system, how do shoppers select to work with the businesses that do?” he stated.
“On the identical time, we will’t have interaction in greenwashing [on behalf of energy companies] – we will’t misrepresent what they do. We practice our individuals and educate our individuals on advertising requirements.”
He admitted it was “a problem” for WPP to get the steadiness proper between serving to power corporations to market their merchandise and avoiding greenwashing.
It’s thought that all the world’s massive six company teams have power purchasers. Britain’s WPP was among the many most seen at Cannes Lions as a result of it rented a personal seaside – because it did in 2019, the final time that the pageant came about in-person earlier than the pandemic.
Japan’s Dentsu was the one different main company group that had a beachfront house. Expertise giants together with Google, Meta and Spotify rented many of the different prime spots.
“You do fear about ensuring our individuals and our purchasers are secure”
Requested if he had considerations about safety at Cannes Lions after Greenpeace was capable of stage the protests, Learn stated: “I don’t have a priority about the way in which that it has been dealt with. The organisers and the police have dealt with it very effectively.”
The authorities had been “wonderful at speaking to us about what would occur and responding to the occasion” at WPP’s seaside, particularly, he stated.
It’s understood that WPP took a conciliatory method and let the Greenpeace activists use the lavatory amenities after they arrived on the seaside.
Learn added: “For most individuals, the crane on the Palais was a minor inconvenience – they couldn’t drive down the Croisette. It’s not the tip of the world. In comparison with international warming, it’s a minor inconvenience.”
The WPP chief did nonetheless categorical some considerations about security: “Within the present surroundings, you do fear about ensuring our individuals and our purchasers are secure at occasions like this.”
Requested if Cannes Lions deliberate to evaluation safety, a pageant spokesperson instructed Marketing campaign: “We fully respect the precise to peaceable protest and our principal concern is at all times the security of Cannes Lions attendees and the broader metropolis of Cannes.
“Final week’s Greenpeace actions had been managed by the police and the Metropolis of Cannes and at no stage did the protests influence the supply of the occasion.
“We frequently evaluation policing and safety preparations for the pageant with the Metropolis of Cannes, together with the way to handle peaceable protests by non-violent teams corresponding to Greenpeace and any peaceable affiliate organisations they could be in partnership with.”
Sustainability featured prominently on the speaker agenda at this 12 months’s Cannes Lions. At a session referred to as “By 2030, each advert will probably be a inexperienced advert”, a world coalition of leaders from main manufacturers, company teams, tech corporations and advert associations dedicated to broaden Advert Internet Zero, the UK advert business’s sustainability initiative, to the US and Europe.
Nevertheless, Greenpeace stated the advert business was not doing sufficient to fight local weather change, explaining why it needed to “name out promoting companies” at Cannes Lions and accusing them of being “complicit in spreading disinformation across the local weather disaster and selling their [clients’] polluting merchandise”.
The environmental campaigning group stated: “For the reason that Paris Settlement not less than 300 awards have been given out in Cannes to promoting for extra air journey, to grease corporations that greenwash and to advertisements that make automobiles with polluting combustion engines extra fascinating.
“PR and promoting holdings and companies corresponding to Accenture, Publicis, WPP and Edelman, current on this occasion, have lately introduced they are going to decide to reaching ‘carbon neutrality’ (web zero) and inner sustainability insurance policies.
“Nevertheless, all these corporations proceed to work for the fossil gasoline business serving to them promote their picture and the alleged environmental virtues of oil and fossil fuel and, in consequence, block the fast local weather motion required.”
WPP’s awards at this 12 months’s Cannes Lions included work for Greenpeace. VMLY&R Brazil gained Gold for Greenpeace’s Los Santos +3°C – a web based recreation that lets customers expertise life in a digital metropolis below the stress of maximum climate occasions.