HSBC adverts are just greenwash, so why not make your own?

Posted by jamie — 3 June 2010 at 11:08am - Comments

If this man's tree-top home was in the way of profit, do you think HSBC would really stop the bulldozers? 

Update: Thanks to the thousands of emails sent and the videos you made, HSBC have since sold their shares in Sinar Mas.

HSBC's advertising creates a world where this monolithic financial institution truly empathises with the cultural, environmental and deeply symbolic relationships people have with trees and rainforests. It's a make-believe world, of course. The bank's actions speak far louder than the syrupy voiceovers and twee sentiments in their adverts, so just like BP's logo, they're ripe for a makeover. So why not make one of your own?

In a previous post, I explained how HSBC has a policy which outlines how the bank won't fund deforestation projects, and yet it has invested in Indonesian agri-giant and current bête noir Sinar Mas. Why? Because there's a huge loophole in the policy which allows HSBC to present itself as a green and ethically conscious while at the same time investing in companies tearing up the rainforests and peatlands. 

From this advert, for instance, you'd think that HSBC actually give a damn: 

So, if like me you've sat at home, shouting at the TV as one greenwashed advert after another trolls on by (I'm not the only one who does that, am I?), now's your chance to set the record straight. Take inspiration from HSBC's existing adverts (or just take one of the adverts) and make your own mini-masterpiece. Add a witty voiceover, some spot-on captions or film a quick retake to explain that HSBC is banking on deforestation. Our Kit Kat advert was instrumental in changing Nestlé's forest policy - now you can do the same with HSBC.

We'd like to show the best ones at Glastonbury and if you'd like to be considered, there's a deadline of 12 noon on Thursday 17 June to add your videos to our YouTube group. To submit your video, here's what you need to do: 

  • Search out some HSBC adverts for inspiration. Here are some I think are particularly ripe for a makeover, but there are plenty of others out there. Right-click on the links to download the videos: Trees, Lumberjack, Fishermen and Integrity.
  • Make your own version which clearly shows how, by investing in palm oil and paper companies like Sinar Mas, HSBC are helping to destroying Indonesia's rainforests and pushing orang-utans to the brink of extinction. Make it witty, make it funny, make it something that will really annoy HSBC.
  • Upload it to YouTube and add it to our group. For consideration for use at Glastonbury, you need to do this by 12 noon on Thursday 17 June, but we'd love to see videos beyond that date as well - we just won't be able to use them at the festival. You can upload to other video sites as well if you want, but to make sure we can find it please add it to the YouTube group.
  • You could also post it as a response to other HSBC adverts on YouTube or elsewhere. You know, just for fun.
  • If we'd like to use your video at Glastonbury, we'll contact you through your YouTube account. You'll need to supply your video in either MOV, AVI or MP4 format and we'll need to receive it by 10am on Monday 21 June.
Okay, subvertise away!

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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