Have a Break, Have a Quick Spat – Now Google Ads Backfire for Nestle

Greenpeace Landing Page

Confectionary giant Nestle has taken a pasting over its response to Greenpeace campaign which criticised the company for its alleged rape of the rainforests – and its handling of the subsequent social media fallout.

PR misfire number one came when the Swiss chocolatier-turned-food giant demanded the Greenpeace video be revmoved from YouTube (and astoundingly, YouTube agreed). That served only to start a social media buzz.

Misfire number two came when an unnamed moderator started riffing with visitors to Nestle’s official Facebook fan page .

His fast and loose comments were branded rude, irreverent and entirely out of sync with the tone expected by visitors lodging their heartfelt views on Nestle’s alleged environmental damage being wrought to bring the world Kit-Kats and other sweet treats.

There is little doubt Greenpeace is winning the PR battle. In an incredibly shrewd move the environmental protection group has also placed a series of Google Ads which appear whenever web users search for ‘Greenpeace’, ‘Nestle’ or both.

Greenpeace Google Ad

I suspect the ads – which read, Have a Break  – Which chocolate company destroys rainforests for palm oil? are also optimised to appear for a number of other key search terms.

Click the ad and you are promptly taken through to an eyecatching and dramatic page offering viewers the chance to receive a copy of the video which was banned from YouTube as a “free gift”.

In another demonstration of social media savvy, Greenpeace’s landing page also gives visitors the chance to share the video via social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook.

I suspect that in a few weeks from now the Greenpeace PR and marketing machine will be sharing the results – no doubt succcessful – with us all.

Now comes the funny part. Nestle has also been placing Google Ads.

Google ads for Greenpeace and Nestle

Adversaries Google Ads

In fact, while searching for “nestle and greenpeace” inside the video-hosting website, Vimeo, up popped the advert shown here, which has both the Nestle and Greenpeace Google ad offerings cheek-by-jowl

Since I had already checked out the Greeneace ad, it seemed only fair that I check out the Nestle advert as well.

Bear in mind that at the heart of the entire issue is a Greenpeace claim that Nestle uses less than reputable supplers and methods to source palm oil which it uses in the making of its popular chocolatey snacks.

Basically plantation owners clear vast swathes of tropical rainforests (in all their bio-diverse glory) to make way for palm trees instead.

Emotively, Greenpeace suggests this act of deforestation is contributing to the loss of endangered orangutans – which also manage to be both incredibly cute, while also disturbingly human in aspect.

So, where then would  Nestle’s ad click through to?

Turns out it arrives at a page to promote the Randoms brand of jelly sweeties produced by subsidiary Rowntree.

Just to rub salt in Nestle’s already painful wounds even this apparently innocuous exercise has turned into a PR misfire.

Rather unfortunately, anyone clicking through to the Random’s landing page is greeted with  a loading screen asking them to “please be palm tree”.

You couldn’t make it up – and it just goes to show that when you are out of luck, you are really out of luck.

Please be palm tree

Palm oil anyone?


6 thoughts on “Have a Break, Have a Quick Spat – Now Google Ads Backfire for Nestle

  1. I see they’ve now changed it to “Please be monkey socks”. Really, it’s not much better – they should be keeping primates well out of their website when there’s all this hoohah over the palm oil they use. Talk about stupidity!

  2. Hello Amy-Kate,

    Thanks for the positive feedback and for taking the time to leave a comment! It is really appreciated.

    I think it’s safe to say that Greenpeace won the main PR battle – and then proceed to win the Google Adwords fight as well.

    If you get a chance, check out this zooming presentation I put together to show some of the numbers involved as the Nestle social media maelstrom unfolded:


    Thanks again for the comment.


  3. Pingback: Social Media Warfare: Greenpeace vs. Nestle | The Defectors Blog

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