Activists accuse drinks firm Innocent of ‘greenwashing’ with ad | Digital Marketing Technology| Digital Marketing Trends

today is Aug 07, 2022

Innocent drinks made available to supporters during Forest Green Rovers and Cambridge United in December 2020. Show caption Innocent has been making an effort to boost its climate credentials among consumers. Photograph: Shane Healey/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock
Plastics

Plastics Rebellion complains to advertising watchdog about claims made in British TV advert

Innocent drinks have been accused of “greenwashing” by plastic pollution campaigners after releasing an advert that claims buying their smoothies can help save the environment.

Activists, who recently occupied the company’s headquarters, have lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about claims made in an advert entitled Little Drinks, Big Dreams. The ASA is currently reviewing the evidence submitted by the activists and Innocent, and is expected to make a ruling imminently.

The TV ad tells the story of a man and and his aquatic sidekick, Otter, as their boat is hijacked by revellers celebrating and making a mess as they approach a large waterfall. They sing about “messing up the planet” until they find themselves in peril, hanging off the edge of a cliff. They then row back to safety, clear up the rubbish, and start turning apples on a tree into Innocent smoothies, which they all consume as they “fix up the planet”.

The brand, which is known for its “wackaging”, has been making an effort to boost its climate credentials among consumers.

Kirsty Hunter, Innocent’s marketing director, said when the ad launched that the company hoped the message would turn consumers into “recycling activists”, but campaigners have argued it is misleading to suggest that purchasing single-use plastic can save the planet.

Douglas Lamont, the company’s chief executive, said at the time: “The launch of Little Drinks, Big Dreams is an important moment for us. It gives us a platform to talk about the many fantastic initiatives within the company – from carbon reduction to recycling, sustainable farming and helping people and communities – sharing information and what we’ve learned along the way and hopefully inspiring others.”

Matt Palmer of the direct action group Plastics Rebellion said: “Greenwashing is dangerous – in the case of Innocent it’s one thing to hide your ecocidal practices, that’s bad enough, but to go to the next level and pretend you’re ‘fixing up the planet’ is far worse. It means that people will willingly – and unwittingly – opt in to support your project in the belief that they are doing good for the planet.”

Plastics Rebellion pointed out that Innocent was owned by Coca-Cola, which has frequently been accused of creating pollution, and was recently found to be the brand most littered on British beaches. The group also claimed Innocent created 32,000 plastic bottles an hour, and said plastic bottles were responsible for a large amount of marine pollution.

The group also said that by repeating the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle”, Innocent was guilty of “trivialising the plastic crisis”, adding: “Recycling only happens 9% of the time [and] much plastic waste is still landfilled.” Plastics Rebellion has asked that Innocent be banned from making adverts the group described as “greenwashing” in the future.

Innocent has been contacted for comment.

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