Aug. 20th, 2009

mordwen: (activist)
This morning, at Flinders Street station, a young woman pushed a card and some chocolate at me, hoping to promote a shiny new web site.

The address read whatwouldyouliketochange.com.au. Intriguing. I asked whether this was corporate or non-government or what and she said corporate but didn't know any more.

She pointed me to the people outside the turnstiles who were filming vox pops and a guy who was obviously the team leader. I asked him and discovered that this is an exercise by PriceWaterhouseCooper to garner the opinion of Australians... why? To help their clients market to us better.

I'm torn between being outraged and being cynically unsurprised (after all, it wasn't that long ago that the girlfriend of a good friend said, "I totally support your idealism so long as you're comfortable with the idea that people like me will try to monetise you."[1])

I talked to him for a short while about greenwash and how little faith I have that any of their clients will actually change their ways, but rather will work out how to convince us that they've changed their ways. Westpac's recent advertising comes to mind. BP is the famous case study. Shell. Desperate attempts to regain ethical ground in the aftermath of damaging campaigns about, oh, you know, funding uranium mines and sending the army in to kill indigenous people.

There are videos of the vox pops on the site and it's a brilliant idea. I'm just sad that it's for such a shallow purpose and that those who might get excited about it and *do* something might waste their tiny token effort for the year on this, get a big dose of feelgood about their conspicious compassion and then go back to being do-nothing couch potatoes.

Sigh. When did I grow up and can I go back to being a young, passionate teenager please?

[1] Yes, she actually used that word. [2]
[2] No, amazingly, I didn't thump her.

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