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.
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