2008 climate campaign news

June 13, 2007 at 7:35 am | Posted in Ads, Advertising, Climate change, Communications, Impact, Information, Media, News, Visual aids | Leave a comment

Transport for London Low Emissions Zone ad on back page of The Guardian 12Jun07Climate action has to be the top issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.

We have to make climate action (not climate change, but climate action) the top story in the 2008 campaign. Forget about framing science. This is framing life!

Government information campaigns may be the best way to achieve changes in public habits as rapidly as we need to get to grips with our climate challenge now. Reasons for this approach include:

  • The amount of media attention, especially when it comes to counting top stories, has no connection whatsoever with the importance of an issue.
  • The urgency and immediate impact of an issue plays a part in determining whether it gets aired.
  • The timescales media deal with have shortened to sound bites, while climate change is a generational affair.

Furthermore, the Framing Science frame is missing the point: people do not have to understand the science of climate change in intimate, intricate, detail with all its uncertainties, in order to be able to comprehend the significance of taking action to combat it now. Denialists have invented a debate to cause doubts and delay action, indefinitely. Denialists depend upon science ignorance and actively provoke people to distrust scientists.

Humans have “no alternative” but to try to stop global warming. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPAWell-known personalities are not suffering visually due to climate change, so it is hard to get TV news coverage. A concerned frown by Al Gore, an anxious plea by David Attenborough, and a wink from George Bush are hardly sufficient to keep people glued to their screens.
News is only worth tracking as an academic pastime to discover what the mass audience is meant to be thinking about at a given location and point in time (and in some cases as a matter of record). Newspaper reports are not designed to change our habits, except in the sense of encouraging a wide range of consumerist lifestyles, though that is probably done more effectively through advertising.

For long-term messaging about climate change, money would be better spent on producing good multilingual ads for billboard, magazine and web advertising to reach more people worldwide through more persistent media. The message is not changing as fast as our ability to deal with the problem successfully!

Newspaper stories and airtime are too dependent on the whims of other stories knocking them off the front page at the last moment, and too ephemeral to be useful for climate change messages.

People need time to reflect on crystal clear points. Our climate challenge will be a long haul.

Two ads jumped out at me this week. As all good calls to action, they enable immediate responses ( ^^^ click lorry thumbnail for specifics).

The first is from the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who is so committed to improving London’s environment, he is a climate hero. The difference in the past few years is remarkable, and there’s more to come.

Transport for London Low Emissions Zone ad on back page of The Guardian 12Jun07

The second is from an insurance company, Aviva, who are probably set to do well out of climate change, being, as they say,

the world’s fifth-largest insurance group and the biggest in the UK. We are the leading provider of life and pensions products in Europe and have substantial businesses elsewhere around the world.

but they have also pioneered digital mapping to help assess risk more accurately. You can see their marketing team know how to get attention, just like a bee! Black on yellow is always eye-catching. Reams of text on the science of climate change does not arrest your eye and draw you in in quite the same way, does it? As long as climate science information is ever-so easily available for those who go looking for it, and drowns out misinformation from denialists, we shall get by without news reports, I think 😉

Planning for global warming Aviva

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