From Peter Metzinger
In the last few weeks, there have been several comments on Facebook that tried to defame this platform as the manipulative site of a “PR agency” due to the imprint of ReclaimTheFacts and its location at Mr. Campaigning AG. When you run out of factual arguments, one approach is to doubt the credibility of the discussion partner.
So that everyone can form their own well-founded opinion, here are a few facts and background information.
Every website needs an imprint with a valid postal address. At ReclaimTheFacts this is the location of my company “Mr. Campaigning AG”. Those who know my story will understand why my company is not a “PR agency”.
In 1982 – at the age of seventeen – I learned that the nearby Ford factories wanted to store paint sludge in cavities in an old quarry above my home village. Right next door there was a small pond, a true amhibian paradise. So I started my first campaign, collected signatures, protested in writing to the environmental office and even composed a song entitled “Ford, murder and the paint sludge dump”. After two years the spook was over.
In the meantime, I was studying physics in Heidelberg and was active in the peace movement, from where I ended up in an environmental protection tutorial at university and then joined Greenpeace. For Greenpeace I was a volunteer for seven years before I was employed by Greenpeace Switzerland in 1991. There I worked for 3 years as a campaigner and 3 years as Campaigns Director (member of the management).
Because I also initiated and implemented organizational development in this position, I realized that what I had learned as a campaigner at Greenpeace – campaigning – could be applied in a wide variety of ways, from internal cultural change in a company, organizational development, change management, marketing, corporate communications to voting campaigns. After all, in the end it is always about changing the knowledge (or understanding), attitudes and / or behavior of individuals.
Such a statement can now easily be defamed as a call for manipulation. But don’t we all do that every day? For example, when we give someone a tip, pass on information, criticize something, doesn’t it always happen in order to influence, in the broadest sense, the knowledge of the other person, his or her attitude towards a topic or even the behavior? Everybody does it, several times a day.
It is only manipulative if you hide your intentions. It is unethical if it serves an ethically unacceptable goal. So, for the evaluation it depends very much on the intention. (Already in 2003 I wrote in my book “Business Campaigning” that the future belongs to companies that are transparent and authentic, while manipulative methods would have less and less chance in times of Web2.0 – as the emerging social media were called back then -).
With the realization of how versatile you can use campaigning, I started my own business in 1998. Even then, I was called Mr. Campaigning by others because I was the first in Switzerland to offer campaigning as a service. So it made sense to also call my company Mr. Campaigning; however, it took me 22 years before I could decide to take this step.
Because as the child of a working class family, with a degree and working for Greenpeace, I was only able to save up seed capital for one month, my most important goal in the first year was to build up reserves. When I had achieved this, the crisis of meaning came. I did not want to work just to make money. The work also had to make sense.
And so it came about that for 20 years – first with a sole proprietorship, then with a limited liability company and since 2019 with a public limited company – I have been supporting non-profit organizations and companies in change processes and campaigns, and with the part of my working time in which I earn money I support projects where I earn nothing or very little. I can cross-subsidize billable activities for nonprofit organizations in this way. As a member of the Venture Kick Jury I support innovative young entrepreneurs free of charge. I have initiated various projects on my own initiative and can afford the time I have to spend on them by earning enough money with paying customers to cover my living. For example, since June 2019 I have been committed to an idea that came to my mind at the time, namely that the politically unavoidable airline ticket levy could be used to finance the airlines’ switch to renewable fuels. That cost a lot of time that nobody paid for.
I am a member of the FDP Canton of Zurich’s Expert Commission on Environment and Energy. As president of the Limmatfeld neighborhood association and on the board of the IG Silbern union, I am committed to the positive development of the neighborhood in which I live. As a resident and member of Dietikon’s municipal council, I have worked to ensure that the city has now defined its economic strategy as becoming a cluster for environmental and energy companies. ReclaimTheFacts is also not the first platform I have created to correct misinformation. The first was klima-neutral.info
When I changed from the GmbH to the AG last year, I determined that the AG can in principle also launch its own initiatives, which represent campaigning for topics or ideas, which are strategically relevant or at least important for a good future of mankind. These are the “Campaigning For Good” projects.
Last but not least: Mr. Campaigning AG also takes on agency assignments, but is more of a management consultancy specializing in solutions for particularly difficult problems (“Impossible Missions”). For over 20 years, the most frequent feedback I have received has been that I have once again made the impossible possible. This is how the company claim “impossible is just a word for change” came about.
With all this, we are not a PR company, even though PR – media relations – is part of our repertoire, just like social media, events, public affairs, crisis communication, reputation management, change management, organizational development, etc. We have a broad repertoire. This is also necessary when it comes to Impossible Missions.
We also only accept assignments that we can ethically represent on the basis of the facts.
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