Clean Cloud Campaign: Wrong target

Finding a way to be offended is the tried-and-true pathway to nurturing a parasitic message.

If you can claim offense, you are blessed with the mantle of ”cause” and can thrash the world with your righteous indignation without concern about unintended consequences or having to bother with those pesky policy questions.

Greenpeace taps into this very effectively, and has found a new way for newly offended air-breathers to take up a cause.

The contention of the “Clean Cloud” campaign is that the Internet uses dirty, coal-fired power to sate the digiratti’s endless hunger for more data.

So enter Greenpeace’s video awareness campaign bringing the message of the filthy cloud to the concerned and environmentally conscious.

It’s cool to be aware, man.

There’s only one problem with it however: they have mis-cast the villain.

Take a look at the video.

So what’s the problem? Well, if I’m looking to be offended, I would say this campaign says: the smart people use the Internet and the dumb ones service it.

The men working at the boiler to provide the power for the wealthy and smart people are dumb, have poor vocabularies, and are therefore not worthy of our consideration.

But what about these men and their jobs? Will the eco-conscious digeratti come to the rescue and pay their mortgages? Will they step in to train them to become information workers when their jobs go away? Hell no, and frankly, who cares. They’re not hip.

So as clever as this campaign is, it badly misses the basic frame of the hero/villain literary device.

It turns out the villains are really the good guys – the ones truly victimized by the campaign’s too-hip-to-be-concerned or think-beyond-our-cause, vibe.