More recently, companies have been touting their commitment to humanitarian causes like poverty eradication, disaster relief, human rights and sustainable development. Drawing on greenwash techniques, companies from industries like tobacco and mining tell heart warming, personal stories of how their money has helped make a difference. The humanitarian-themed variant of greenwash is called "bluewash" - for the color of the United Nations flag. Classic bluewash is the corporate association with the UN itself as the ultimate symbol of human rights.
In the weeks after Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed, Shell, which faced a public corporate crisis, tried to spin its way out of trouble, spending millions of dollars justifying its continuing operations in Nigeria. In the company's adverts and press releases, the Ogoni were portrayed as violent, as separatists, as sappateurs, while Shell systematically lied to the world over its links with the military regime. How the truth was manipulated in Nigeria is just one small example of corporate public relations industry that spends 35 billion dollars a year protecting business interests world-wide.
2. What is PR? It is the secretive art of subtle manipulation, whose point, in the words of one Mobil executive "is getting people to behave the way you hope they will behave by persuading them that it is ultimately in their interest to do so".