Earth Day 2022.
Wherefrom.org, the sustainability review platform, has found a brilliant tactic to target companies that undertake "greenwashing" in their marketing through the medium of song.
The new song, which is listed on Spotify, iTunes and YouTube, is called "Stop the Wash" and features 120 slogans—a mash-up of existing slogans used by massive corporations including Shell, Nike, H&M, BP and Amazon, and dozens of common phrases.
These are now copyrighted to prevent companies using them without the sustainability credentials to back them up.
A recent European Commission report revealed 42% of companies' "green" claims are exaggerated, false, or deceptive*.
Furthermore, according to the UK advertising watchdog, in the past 12 months sixteen advertising campaigns from household brands in the UK exaggerated their green credentials* and were unable to substantiate them.
The song was released ahead of Earth Day 2022—the global calendar event dedicated to highlighting the vital importance of doing more to protect our planet.
As the green slogans feature in an official song, they’ve become naturally subject to music copyright laws and any company that uses them in its marketing to deceive or exaggerate their “green” claims, will be threatened with legal action from Wherefrom.org. A copyright expert, who consulted on the audacious campaign will represent Wherefrom.org in the event of a company using a slogan from Stop the Wash without backing it up.
The green slogans that appear as lyrics include a mix of existing ones used by companies that consumers will be able to recall, and a plethora of common phrases and slogans that could be used by companies in the future, including:
"We’re investing in green",
"Our mission is green", "We’re helping the world reach net zero", "Our fuelling is clean", "Be the future."
Adam, co-founder of Wherefrom.org, believes the tactic will shine a light on the serious issue of greenwashing, and with the threat of a lawsuit, deter brands from using green slogans irresponsibly.
The catchy - if slightly annoying - tune is inspired by the pop rock genre and will be belted out across national radio stations all week, even reaching across the pond in the US. Stop the Wash is listed on Spotify and has so far racked up 7,000 listens.
Wherefrom.org co-founder, Adam Williams, commented: "Greenwashing is rife around the world, with companies deceiving or exaggerating their green credentials as a marketing ploy to reel in consumers. We want it to stop. Our mission is for every product and company in the world to have a Wherefrom score - so everyone can make more sustainable choices, forcing companies to become more sustainable. With so many phony 'green' campaigns out there, we hope that "Stop the Wash" will be a clever tactic to call out brands and stop the use of flaky green slogans - if not we'll sue them using our resident lawyer."
"Stop the Wash" has also received backing from Ashlee Piper, the US based sustainability expert, and Author of Give A Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet.
Creative Moment asked 10Days a few questions about this 'arresting' campaign.
Creative Moment: Can you really copyright those phrases?!
10Days: Our lawyer's position is as follows: "Any use of the taglines developed by wherefrom and the Stop The Wash project by companies copying them from our song will be deemed to be an infringement of our copyright, and will be followed up by legal enforcement action, potentially including legal action for copyright infringement in courts anywhere in the world where the taglines are used".
CM: Tell me about the creation of the concept.
10D: With Greenwashing so entrenched in culture, we needed to get to the source of the problem - not only to galvanise attention around the malpractice of these brands, but better still to prohibit their deceptive behaviour by using the very thing that was causing the greenwashing in the first place—deceptive marketing slogans!
Having seen the importance of copyright in music through various court cases over the last few years (Ed Sheeran most recently), and knowing how powerful music can be to make an idea stick. It all fell into place. We wrote all 100 taglines into a song.
CM: Was it created in 10 Days?
10D: The song took 10 Days to write and record, then song to screen in 10 Days.
CM: What do you hope it will achieve?
We hope our new track “Stop the Wash” will shine a light on the serious issue of greenwashing and help to deter brands from using such slogans irresponsibly. 42 per cent of companies' “green” claims are exaggerated, false or deceptive and we’re here to stop that.
The song will be appearing on airwaves across the UK this week to mark the launch and get people listening.
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