Triumph for Extinction Rebellion as protests spark huge surge in ‘climate change’ web traffic Group apologises for disruption but says demonstrations were ‘hugely successful’
Extinction Rebellion activists have hailed their protests in London as a “huge success” after data suggested they caused a five-fold increase in online searches for climate change.
PR experts also agreed that the type of disruptive tactics employed by Extinction Rebellion had successfully made people take notice.
The media are doing exactly what they [Extinction Rebellion] want them to do, and that is talking about them.”
Mark Borkowski, who has written extensively about the art of the “publicity stunt”, said that the campaign was markedly different from previous eco-protests.
“The aims of the Extinction Rebellion press operation is gradual change – to gather momentum, and what we’ve seen recently with them has been something that has built up over a period of time,” he said.
“Publicity stunts, to a certain extent, are a tipping point to achieve a consciousness. What the PR world does badly sometimes are bad publicity stunts – that go off and generate a focus of attention for a 24-hour period but is then forgotten about.
“What they have done through the use of direct action and social media is build a momentum behind their campaign. You have to sustain the momentum of your action to keep interest going.”
He added: “They’ve had really strong iconic messages, such as the pink boat and stopping the traffic, which have really resonated with people’s consciousness – similar to protests in the past like ‘Ban the Bomb’, Greenham Common and anti-racism that had a profound effect.
“A lot of charities and protest movements could learn from the PR tactics of Extinction Rebellion.”