Age of stupid – greens blow up school kids in ad to sell climate change.

The recent 10:10 climate change campaign (founded by Age of Stupid director Franny Armstrong) has scored an own goal with a disastrous video ‘No Pressure’ created by Richard Curtis (of Blackadder fame) that features exploding school kids.

The humour is puerile and may well appeal to a drunken 19 year old student but as a piece of communications it has got it very wrong. So wrong they have had to withdraw the video following thousands of complaints.

The video (they call it an ad) features a series of patronising people – a teacher and a boss – asking everyone to sign up to 10:10 (you sign up to reduce your carbon emission by 10%). The script quotes “we cut our carbon emissions by 10%, thus keeping the planet safe for everyone,” which is factually rubbish, it’ll take a lot more than 10%. The teacher then asks the kids to volunteer to do something. All but two, Phillip and Tracy, raise their hands. The two who don’t get killed in a sick and disgusting way. She blows them up leaving the other kids covered in burnt flesh and blood.

There are two other scenes featuring X-Files’ Gillian Anderson (she too gets blown up), together with Spurs players – including Peter Crouch, Ledley King and David Ginola.

The message is, “No Pressure celebrates everybody who is actively tackling climate change… by blowing up those who aren’t.”
It will go down as the ultimate in poor and stupid judgment (a lesson to those who try and make their own ads). The green blog, An Englishman’s Castle, called it “an eco-terrorism film”.

This is not only embarrassing for 10:10 but for their supporters, O2, Sony, Eada, National Magazines (Esquire, Cosmoplitan, Bazaar, Company), The Guardian and many other brands and organisations, not to mention many celebs. One critic has published the email address of Sony’s CEO, encouraging people to write direct.

Can’t say I’d want to be part of an organisation that advocates blowing up kids. It comes across as ‘eco-fascism’, a tag that has been put against extremist green groups.

In principle I support these campaigns but I do have one issue, you aren’t saving the planet. You are making a minor token contribution – a very valued one I might add – but saving the planet you aren’t.

The danger with celebrity-endorsed campaigns like this is they grab the media’s attention and distort the real facts and issues. The consumer is mislead to think that by turning a few lights off or cycling to work they have done their bit.

Climate change is actually an outcome of bad economics and it’s economics that could reduce it but greedy governments aren’t prepared to go down that route, instead they’ll carry on investing in ‘Green Candy’ (like wind farms) because it make good PR and keeps the comfortable middle classes comfortably numb to the real issues.

The problem we have with this very group of middle class activists, as George Orwell once commented (not exact words but similar), they are fed miss-truths by the media, which they regurgitate over the dinner table. They pick up fashionable causes that they pursue with passion and opinion until they get bored of them and find another more fashionable one.

The 10:10 campaign was founded by Franny Armstrong, director of the climate change film The Age of Stupid. In the film an archivist in the devastated world of 2055, asks the question: “Why didn’t we stop climate change when we still had the chance?” He looks back on footage of real people around the world in the years leading up to 2015 before runaway climate change took place. London is now flooded, Sydney is burning, Las Vegas has been swallowed up by desert, the Amazon rain forest has burnt up, snow has vanished from the Alps and nuclear war has laid waste to India (not sure that’s anything to do with climate change but the politics of war). It’s doom and gloom with no positive message.

The idea for 10:10 came to Franny while walking through Regent’s Park on her way to a debate with UK Climate & Energy Secretary Ed Miliband (now Labour leader and probably keeping as far away from this as possible). With her connections she managed to amass lots of celebrities and get lots of PR.
Now’s she is getting all the wrong PR.

What the real critics say.

Social networking is great when it’s positive but like newspapers, bad news travels faster and further.

Here are just a few comments from YouTube, various blogs and their own website forum from thousands of angry people:

“In tribute to this disgusting piece of propaganda I’m going to double my carbon footprint next year.”

“What the lunatic fringe will do to prove a point!”

“This must be the most disgusting piece of film I have ever seen, and all in the name of “humour”.

“Hi, My name is Adolf Hitler. Myself and my organisation of like-minded individuals also advocate the execution of children who do not follow the inevitable progression of our society. They stand in our way and must be exterminated. It is good to see others share my views. I look forward to working with you all soon.”

“. . . we’re not supposed to listen to Christopher Booker, Richard North or Lord Monckton because they’re not climate scientists. But know-nothing ***** like Richard Curtis and a bunch of ******* footballers must be believed simply because they’re famous.”

“I’m a teenager who has spent the last year trying to convince my parents to be more aware of the environment, to put more effort into recycling, to save energy etc. And what’s more – it was working.
They’ve now seen your video and have been interrogating me about who I’m associating with, warning me about “eco-terrorists” and other such nonsense.
In short, with this video, you’ve completely undone everything I’ve tried to do to help my parents. You’ve made them suspicious of me, and you’ve made them downright angry.
Thanks for nothing, you bunch of idiots.”

“I haven’t seen a political action group implode at this level before. And to be so smug in the fallout truly is the most incredible part of it all. It’s as if they are digging the hole faster and faster to make room for the rest of the movement that is soon to follow.”

“…this desperate attempt to catch people’s attention certainly worked. Sadly it confirmed that you have no argument.”

“So you, the film professionals, actors and your supporters think it’s extremely funny that your political opponents and their children should be murdered because they don’t agree with your campaign? That is pure fascism and you are a dangerous threat to freedom of thought and expression.”

“At least now everyone can properly identify you all as ecofascists who hate “excess” children and wish they would die. I notice that YOU HAVE NOT ADMITTED THE FILM WAS BAD in any way, only that people did not like it.”

“You have a serious lack of judgment which completely undermines any message that you are attempting to get across and all you can say is sorry. My concern is that anyone in your organisation found it funny.”

“What was a so called ‘amusing attempt to raise awareness’ of your cause, only served to make you look fools.”

“Mention jokingly a “lively round on cake”, which was about 5 out of 3000 comments? Like a finishing school dormitory girls’ giggle? And your main statement still says “most” thought it funny but “some” didn’t – but the truth is, as you know, the opposite”

Opps, sorry!

After a lot of outrage at this bad taste video they took it off their website and 10:10 published this very limp apology.

“Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called ‘No Pressure’.
With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh.
We were therefore delighted when Britain’s leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign.
Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.
As a result of these concerns we’ve taken it off our website. We won’t be making any attempt to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation on the internet.
Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn. Onwards and upwards.”

Looking at the comments and the films I really doubt anyone but a stupid teenager would find it at all funny. I think you could swap the ‘many’ and ‘some’ around in their statement.

With October 10th being their big event 10:10 crisis PR department must be in full swing this week.

A quote from the film Age of Stupid that seems appropriate to this moment of stupidity:

“We could have saved ourselves, but we didn’t. It’s amazing. What state of mind were we in, to face extinction and simply shrug it off?”

Indeed, what state of mind were they in? As for extinction, this video could well be 10:10’s swan song.


  • Grilla Login

    10:10 EPIC FAIL. Well put, Chris.

  • Sarah

    These videos are disgusting. You are right, what were they thinking. That’s the trouble with the meddling middle classes playing at saving the planet.

  • Chris Arnold

    Sony have pulled out of 10:10’s campaign. So that was a very expensive bad taste video in the end.
    “Sony said that while it had fully supported 10:10 and its objectives, but that video was released entirely without its knowledge or involvement, and therefore it was disassociating itself from the campaign.”