Shreyas Kulkarni

Greenpeace activists target Cannes Lions 2022, one returns his old Lions metal while a bunch storm the WPP beach

A ban on fossil fuel advertising was the clarion call.

Gustav Martner is a former Cannes Lions jury member and an award winner; a Gold Lion which he won for a Volkswagen ad in 2007. In 2022, he crashed the opening ceremony of the festival to return it in protest against fossil fuel advertising.

A former head of creative at an agency, Martner revealed in a LinkedIn post it was Volkswagen’s #dieselgate scandal in 2015 and former US vice president Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth documentary on climate change that changed his perspective about his industry.

#Dieselgate, as per the BBC, was the scandal that broke when “the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that many VW cars being sold in America had a "defeat device" - or software - in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. The German car giant has since admitted cheating emissions tests in the US.”

Martner wrote in the post, “… the elite of the advertising industry has been a huge disappointment. The big networks and the smartest brains are still working for the oil majors, for the airliners, to sell SUV with combustions engines. It has to stop.”

The head of creative for Greenpeace Nordic, Martner told Adweek, “I started to rethink the role of advertising. Our role was to come with the ideas that would propel the change—that would drive the change faster—to a low-carbon society, to a society without fossil fuels.”

This, however, was no solitary incident. At the time of writing this piece, Greenpeace activists had stormed the WPP beach to protest against fossil fuel advertising.

The Drum posted a video on them protesting on the shore.

This Is Fine is written on the cards the protestors hold aloft which, as per a Twitter post, was the copy seen on posters “along the low wall between Spotify and Twitter’s beaches at #CannesLions2022.”

However, this was not the first time a protest happened at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. In 2019, Extinction Rebellion disrupted the Cannes Lions festival to “call on the industry to tell the truth about the Climate and Ecological Emergency and to encourage their clients to do the same.”

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