This clip presents a critique of ‘greenwashing’ – which could be a play on ‘brainwashing’ – where multinational corporations use misleading or irrelevant advertising to create a positive view of themselves. For example, in the video, a commercial for BP uses bright colours, happy music and animated sing-song babies in a car driving off from the gas station into the sunset. While none of this has anything to do with car fuel, it presents BP as a harmless, even friendly and bright company. The characters critique these tactics together in a mock advertisement of their own show to shed light (quite literally) on the idea that not everything that is presented to you should be accepted at face value as it could be misleading.
Within the formal education context, this clip could be one way to help students understand the shortcomings of digital media, one of them being the validity and credibility of information. Students can understand the importance of research, critical review and reliable sources in a time where information is readily available online, by seeing that misinformation is also just as readily available.
This clip could be a starting point for further activities where students can deconstruct advertising and sensationalism, like feel-good branding and trendy labels like ‘dolphin-friendly’ and ‘all-natural’, to get a richer understanding of media manipulation and how this extends into other aspects of life like news and ‘reality’ television. It can highlight the need to be an informed citizen, and that this involves critical research and evaluation skills, right from their primary-schooling years.