Posts Tagged ‘Together’

A bloody provocation to do the green thing

October 4, 2010

Richard Curtis has written a very short film for the 10:10 climate change campaign, it features some famous people, it’s filmed by a top ad director … and it’s proved so offensive that it was taken out of circulation within a day. Except of course  YouTube still has a copy:

I’ve done quite a bit of work on green marketing, particularly with the Together and We Will If You Will initiatives which have done sterling work bringing together brands, third sector organisations and Government to collaborate on campaigns, rather than everyone do their own small-scale thing. For instance, the Eat Seasonably campaign to promote the eating of fruit and veg that’s in season and the Hug Your Home campaign to encourage home insulation:

Hug Your Home campaign image

From this work I know that complacency has set in amongst a large chunk of the mainstream population: I don’t mean the climate change sceptics but the big swathe of people who are dutifully recycling but doing little else. They say ‘I’m doing my bit’. Unfortunately that bit is not going to be anywhere near enough, so I do understand why 10:10 felt the need to make a provocative film that raises the profile of the debate.

However I think they’ve missed a trick by doing something ridiculously extreme and also simplistic.  According to 10:10 the brief was to provoke the sceptics who aren’t doing anything at all to take action, but I think this film fails on that level – it will alienate those people. To me the more interesting brief would have been: provoke those who are doing a little bit to appreciate that they need to do a lot more – to not just put their hand up but to actually change behaviour.

It’s not that there isn’t a place for humour or irony to engage people – Do The Green Thing regularly use that effectively and Together got a lot of coverage for their April 1st ‘Energy Wasting Day’:

But you have to be very careful to be funny in a knowing, inclusive way that stimulates involvement with a next step rather than being gratuitously shocking to get attention but not leading people anywhere constructive. Which is what I feel the 10:10 film is and does.

10:10 has been successful in creating a sense of a movement that is ‘cool’ to belong to but I worry that it doesn’t clarify clearly enough what it would take to reduce your CO2 emissions by 10%. It’s actually a tall order that won’t be achieved by recycling the inners from your loo rolls, but requires far more uncomfortable actions like reducing your car usage or not flying.