Campaigns for the climate crisis

In the month of the COP 27 summit, we take a look at innovative work that highlights the chaos we’ve caused to our planet.

by Mark Tungate , Adforum

There’s a certain paradox about using digital media to raise awareness of climate change, as data centres are known to contribute to carbon emissions (about 0.3% of the global total, according to the International Energy Agency). To get us started, here’s a smart campaign from BETC Paris addressing that very subject.

Nevertheless, especially when it comes to younger audiences, you have to reach people where they live: online. The next campaign is a good example. Working with Greenpeace, VMLY&R took the impact of climate change into the virtual world – specifically, the ultra-popular game Grand Theft Auto (GTA). Players familiar with the game’s most important city, Los Santos (a proxy for Los Angeles) were shown what the urban landscape would look like after global warming of 3 degrees.

Talking of young voices, Fred & Farid Los Angeles let the next generation speak in this web film for the “climate strike” movement Fridays For Future. It’s alarming – but stay tuned for the twist at the end.

It’s hardly news that brands burn up a lot of energy promoting their goods and services. In Argentina, for Earth Hour on March 26, the agencies Hoy and Havas intervened by dimming multiple outdoor LED advertising screens – simultaneously – by 87 per cent. Not surprisingly, the great brand “turn off” captured the attention of consumers and the media.

The next campaign, from India, began as a physical experience before transitioning online via a film. It invited visitors to a mall to take a “luxury walk”: but the luxuries on offer weren’t quite what they had in mind. It recalls a line from a Joni Mitchell song: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?”

So what can we all do as individuals to mitigate climate change? It turns out that the answer, as proposed by the Swedish agency Around You, is to behave like an animal. Here’s a brief introduction to the “Humanimal” theory.

As a bit of light relief, do you remember super spy Austin Powers and his nemesis, Dr Evil? Well, this year Dr Evil returned – with an unexpected new master plan. In fact he’s fronting a campaign for General Motors and its electric vehicles. The result is so good it’s almost…evil.

Finally, on a note of optimism, there are organisations working for a better future. Here’s a film by VCCP for the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, just outside London. Let’s imagine a world like this.