Prior to the major eruption over Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, Greenpeace activists employed the weapons of parody and timeliness in the war against major auto makers.
In the era of the Disney company’s acquisition of Star Wars and the months leading to the release of the next film in the series, never before have George Lucas’ characters been more globally recognizable than today.
In Jenkins, Ford, and Green’s chapter on spreadable media, the Greenpeace media stunt is an apt example of “timely controversy” and “parody.”
By dressing as Stormtroopers and displaying a billboard mashup of Darth Vader and the Volkswagen logo, the alignment of major auto makers with symbols for ultimate evil are uncanny.
Unlike many protest events, the Greenpeace Troopers standing vigil over the auto maker event didn’t have to employ shouts and chants; their message was inherent in the symbols they employed.
But, as Jenkins, Ford, and Green state in their section on civic media, the Greenpeace protest is not a substitute for discourse about the Volkswagen issue; audience members who watch the video have to take their example and begin to organize a larger dialogue around the issues of civic change.