Campaign of the Week | Rang-tan

An awareness campaign with a call to action to salvage earth’s rainforests, resulting in significant positive environmental impact.

The Challenge

Every 25 seconds around the world, a football pitch of virgin rainforest is destroyed. What is causing this destruction? Among many factors, the harvesting of palm oil is a major one. At the beginning of 2018, people in the U.K were very unfamiliar with the use of palm oil as well as its impact on the environment, despite it being present in 50% of all packaged goods, from chocolate to shampoo.

Greenpeace and Mother London wanted to change this, believing that consumer knowledge and awareness of the use of palm oil as well as its negative impacts on the environment would have the power to change the behaviour of corporations behind the deforestation. 

They were right. 

The Approach

To achieve its objectives of driving consumer awareness to influence corporate responsibility, Mother London went back to the basics of communication, storytelling. It simplified a complex issue using a baby orangutan as the main character in their video, a mammal that humans of all ages can relate to and sympathize with. It narrated the story of theorangutan, stranded in a human child’s bedroom as her rainforest home is destroyed. In this heart wrenching piece of content, the baby orangutan explains what has happened to her home, the rainforest, and emphasizes the helplessness she feels in being unable to stop humans from taking over.  

To spread the story Mother London used minimal paid media through Facebook, Youtube and cinema, and ambassadors/influencers. The Rang-tan campaign first launched online and in cinemas (August, 2018), with the support of known Greenpeace advocates Liam Payne and Stephen Fry spreading the world. In November Mother London wanted to enlist a new type of influencer, Iceland Foods Ltd., a U.K supermarket that was in the final phase of removing palm oil from its branded products. Iceland chose to use the Rang-tan film as their Christmas TV ad campaign, but was denied due to claims that using it would violate the U.K. Code of Broadcast Advertising (falling under the umbrella of political advertising).

Mother London, Weber Shandwick and Taylor Herring got to work immediately after this ruling, engaging an earned media and social media strategy to get Iceland’s film out in the public domain.

The Results

The scale and speed of response from this campaign reached unprecedented levels for Greenpeace U.K. Suddenly, awareness for palm oil was akin to that of the damaging effects of plastic in our oceans. The partnership with Iceland Foods Ltd. contributed greatly to this response by reaching a broader audience than ever expected. 

The film reached over 80 million views, with a reach of over 267 million on social media and 82 million social media engagements. Over 800 pieces of editorial coverage were produced, amounting to a potential reach of 4.2 billion people. Awareness of palm oil skyrocketed in the U.K., going from a baseline of 7% of the population, to 73.5% by the end of the campaign and the petition by Greenpeace reached 1.2 million signatures. Of these, 84,000 people converted into regular donors. Over a thousand schools reached out to Greenpeace looking for educational materials, eventually leading to the creation of a second Rang-tan video, where school children tell the story themselves to raise even greater awareness. Following the campaign, Google searches for palm oil went up 10,000%, Twitter mentions went up 61,900% and over one million signatures were collected petitioning to play Rang-tan on TV. 

More important than just the media results of this campaign is the impact. Ocado, a british online supermarket, added a palm oil free aisle to their website. The Malasyan NGO, RSPO, voted to incorporate no deforestation into its standards, and the world’s largest palm oil trader, Wilmar International, who controls 40% of the world’s supply, promised to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain in a detailed action plan, citing Greenpeace’s campaign as a factor in that decision.

The success of the campaign resulted in Greenpeace publishing the narrative in the form of a children’s book.