Borkowski Weekly Media Trends 01-06-22
Jubilee Brandwagon | Binley Mega Chippy
The Jubilee Bandwagon
The Jubilee week and associated desperation to piggyback onto the theme of royal celebration, got off to an absolute flyer on Monday when Stonehenge revealed that its ancient monoliths had been adorned with natty projections of Her Maj for the occasion.
The incongruity of a landmark that has existed for multiple millennia longer than the British Royal Family indulging in a spot of bulldog patriotism, and the notion that its caretakers thought that the stunt would do its reputation any good set social media ROFLing at the absurdity of our national rituals.
Much maligned but extravagantly successful beer empire Brewdog followed suit, with another meme erupting around the bizarre choice of a company that once catered to ‘punks’ and ‘anarchists’ suddenly bending the knee and pursing lips in the direction of the royal posterior by releasing a Jubilee celebration ‘Corgi Juice’.
The only hint of subversion around the promo was the grizzly image of the pale ale actually containing the entrails of one’s beloved pets…although they were partially bailed out by O.G. punk Johnny Rotten’s appearance on Piers Morgan to talk about how much he loves the “fascist regime” these days.
One Jubilee stunt that did have impact and dignity was really more of a protest, as 72 empty place settings formed the basis of a ghostly ‘street party’ around Grenfell Tower, with signature green bunting and not a union jack in sight, symbolising the victims’ friends' and families’ continued struggle for justice. Poignant, subversive, a powerful image; it was a Jubilee marker even the most cynical could get behind.
BINLEY MEGA CHIPPY: Rise of the TikTok-ChipShop
There's no justice, logic or reason why certain stories go 'viral' online. But as professionals who strive to take stories mainstream, plotting why an obscure chip shop called 'Binley Mega Chippy' in Coventry has captivated the country this week is a particular challenge.
If you missed it, people are travelling as far as Portugal to eat at Binley Mega Chippy, queuing for miles after it became an overnight sensation, thanks to social media. And although Coventry closed its City of Culture tenure last weekend, hosting Radio 1's Big Weekend, its recent surge as a cultural hotspot doesn't justify this mad influx, baffling the chippy's owners and local residents.
The chip shop appears to be the beneficiary of a catchy jingles that content-savvy TikTok creators then latched onto and made into a meme, resulting in real world fame. It’s another case study of the Gen Z-dominated social platform making weird moments famous. And in this case, Binley Mega Chippy has captured hearts and minds, almost as a homage representing the local takeaways that we hold inexplicably close to our hearts. When this compounds with popular trends like food reviews (up there with cat and dog content), anything can go viral quicker than you can say ‘chip pan fire’.
Greenwashing. No more soundbites.
Ever since the Paris agreement back in 2015 woke the world up to the climate crisis, major corporations have been in a no-holds-barred ‘Green Race’. But often it’s more superficial than actually managing their emissions and adopting sustainable practices. Often it’s just about how to look green. How to sound green. Or how to pretend to be green.
Whether that is by planting trees or paying to shell your admissions to someone else (often in a poorer part of the world) to deal with, a lot of these schemes are not actually tackling the underlying causes of the climate crisis. So now, in addition to the actual climate crisis, we are increasingly on the verge of a worldwide Greenwashing crisis.
This week headlines were made when police in Frankfurt raided the offices of DWS and Deutsche Bank and quizzed staff about the alleged greenwashing of fund assets.
What was once a comms issue is now becoming a legal one. As people start to see through proclamations of sustainability and deep dive into whether you are actually saving the world, companies’ desperation to be the greenest of them all is coming under intense scrutiny and massively increasing the risk factor around any ESG programme. And as we have seen in the past through incidents like the Volkswagen emission scandal and this latest scandal, the risks of green washing are not just reputational, but legal.
For Deutsche Bank this is bad news, as the Leading European bank this is a big hit they could do without, particularly in a world of environmentally engaged and activist investors. To the wider world this is a warning shot, there is no more pretending. If you want to be green you really will need to tackle the underlining causes rather than planting a tree or two (or claiming to).