Pick 1 - that takes the prize for adorability, originality, and ability to engage with the widest possible audience is Frank Woodley's - Give Frank A Break
Oddly enough since it was released has been 'closed to private audience' but you can watch the expose on the Project on the link above. It is essentially a humorous video (black comedy!) about protecting our oceans from waste pollution. Frank Woodley manages to tread a fine (fishing) line between environmental pathos and green humour. He certainly seems to be saying the less words you use - the more you convey in Give Frank and the Oceans a break. On the Project TV show Frank shocks everyone by swallowing a plastic bag - presumably one which will break down inside his stomach!!
Am hoping the link will be working again shortly.
Pick 2 - Animal Australia - caged eggs videos campaign --- 'That aint no way to treat a lady'.
Not as creative as the Give Frank A Break Video - nevertheless these videos are clever in that they remove any semblance of the pedestrian or prosaic from the 'chicken' label and manage to captivate us with the lovability of the chicken species. The viewer will be stunned to learn the fact that the majority of eggs in Australia are still battery hen or cage eggs which is simply unacceptable in a society which is meant to be moving towards becoming more concerned with animal rights and welfare.
You will also learn that chickens are cleverer than we thought, can be trained to do tricks (no bird brain at all!) and they can identify the same object over and over again that depicts themselves, and even look for the missing object that resembles all of the others. I give this campaign an extra tick as they managed to produce not one or two but four videos!
Pick 3 Get Up's Save the Reef
This video just scraped it in to the 2014 list being uploaded to Get Up's Facebook in late December. It's actually very effective as it uses humour, too, but takes the innocence of the actors that little bit further and adds in some pretty hilarious misinformation. The lack of accuracy about features of the Great Barrier Reef stirs up that familiar theme that governments don't always know what they're doing and nor do they leave our most precious natural resources in charge of the best people!
Pick 4 - City of Yarra - Put In Bin campaign
These zany pictures have been getting a look in throughout our Facebook page over recent months. The City of Yarra post a caption on each of the bins stating that the contents of the bins will be sorted for recycing. See our Facebook page for several more examples.
Interestingly the next three campaigns concern governmental apathy in Australia, when it comes to taking stronger action and making commitments on climate change targets.
Pick 5 - Heads in the Sand
This one speaks for itself as does the next one.
Pick 6 - G 20 O Solar campaign
Pick 7 - People's Climate March - This March has had an astounding response, not because it's particularly creative or original but merely in the use of social media to rouse so many people to come together at so many different cities and locations across the world. Hundreds of thousands of people turned up to march on 21st September, 2014 in Melbourne.
Here's a photo from the March. The caption in the photo says 'Hey Tony, You're Heading for a Climate Change Cliff'.
More examples of campaigns will be added throughout the year, as more spring to mind - from 2014.
WARNING: IT'S WEIRD, EXPERIMENTAL, OR SLIGHTLY RUDE, BUT IT'S ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY ?!
Given the strange twists and turns of 2014 so far, it seems timely to bring in Converse Conserve's PICK OF UNPLEASANT, and SLIGHTLY OFFENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS to make a statement.
The younger generation especially males, tends to love anything a little bit shocking, degenerate, gorey, out of the ordinary. Yes, let's get it - Environmentalists are starting to drop the P.C veneer a little and realising they need to work the Gen. Y Room.
You may well ask - are we environmentalists justified in going to any lengths including shock, horror and gorey stuff to stun our audience in to compliance? Moreover, does it work? Yes, sometimes it does. When it comes to shock and awe, it is the male 16-25 year old contingent we are appealing to and less so the Polly Anna contingent, who have been served up environmental campaigns on a silver platter, galore these past decades!
Of the top 'slightly rude' or 'offensive' campaigns: notionally the one that has to take the cake is :
1) 10:10 - No Pressure - Cutting 10 per cent (emissions) at a time - Be warned as there is graphic violence contained in this video where the aim is to show what might happen if we don't take sufficient steps to reduce our carbon emissions. Due to the public outcry it got pulled from circulation. Of course, it's still floating around the likes of You Tube ... and this is the version with some 'outraged' editorial added in. We shall leave it up to the reader to decide.
Our one issue with the video (though I for one enjoyed it) is that it does overdo the gorey theme. In the 'making of' the video - footage, as seen at the end, the kids appear to be having a great time, so one doubts that any children or animals were traumatised during its production. For those people who wish to watch it, it does make the point that we are committing global genocide by wrecking our planet! The video through its shock and awe obviously achieved fame for the 10:10 movement, even if it wasn't the kind of attention they were seeking. We will concede that the 10:10 video probably went too far in its use of shock and horror, as we have to take in to account the public's reaction.
2) Pee in the Shower Campaign - This is another example of greenies jumping through proverbial hoops to get the public's attention - namely a video cartoonising the idea that people, young and old, can urinate in the shower and that it really isn't BAD, and the benefit that it potentially saves large quantities of water! It's all in Portugese but you get the general urinatory drift. It's unlikely this article and attached video are too much for the faint-hearted, but WHO KNOWS?! How many people actually admit to having wee-ed in the shower? After all, isn't urine meant to be sterile and even drinkable when it ushers forth? Some might say it's 'cleaner' to just take shorter showers and then use a low flush toilet, but oh well, it is a fun clip and article from Tree Hugger, which ideally makes people more conscious of their bathroom habits and how they impact on the environment. The clip is some years old but certainly worthy of being resurrected.
3) Until the Sun Shines Out of your @%^& Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs - I love this video which I posted up on the Converse Conserve blog quite a while back. It's produced by Green Peace UK and it's really not that surprising or rude, unless you have never seen someone's bottom from a side on view with a flashlight flowing out, which ... most of us probably haven't! I really think the video works as it goes for less than a minute and the message is conveyed in a funny and straightforward way which any one who is fairly switched on (pardon the pun) can understand. Owing to the cheeky nature of the material (another pun, apologies) the video is successful in appealing to the intended target audience, namely the 18-30 year old male demographic.
4) Who Gives A Crap - yes, continuing with the same shitty theme ... I was having a ladies that lunch late, meal at an eco friendly restaurant called - Barry, Westgarth (gobbling down the delish SuperFood Salad) and had to go and use the 'Girls'. On entering the facilities, I found a huge basket containing Who Gives A Crap toilet tissue. Having previously done my research I knew that this particular brand of dunny paper is n't just a bathroom product but is also a genuine cause marketing campaign to help struggling communities. They use 100% recycled paper in the toilet paper and one-half of their profits go to establishing toilets in the developing world. A laudible cause, indeed. Well this one is successful and I particularly love these slogans - 'Our toilet paper is as good for your bum as it is for the planet' and, 'We are flushing poverty down the toilet.' Priceless.
5) A fun education idea is for school students to make up Quizzes to share with the class about environmental facts relating to methane gas, a la FARTING and BURPING. Kids love anything to do with anything smelly and disgusting, so what better way to keep them entertained than to research how much methane gas is emitted in relation to the animals we are consuming, and whether there are ways to change our diet which will bring down the global methane load. Do humans or cows fart more and what about, if we all became vegetarian, would we need to cut out cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts, to keep the farting under control? (I hear my vegetarian friends clamouring and saying: always soak your lentils and beans, first!) This forms part of the Converse Conserve campaign to get teachers and children being more creative in their environmental education activities and research. See our Educator's page for more ideas.
6) Cheeky Campaign Points the Finger (Nails) at Rhino Crisis - Ah ha - found another one. This is truly as cringe-worthy as it gets. A group of handsome South African men on the nailey war path to protect local rhinoceros species from having their horns removed by poachers for spurious medical purposes. This campaign involved the dedicated collection of high volumes of toe nail clippings (UGH!) and human hair (BETTER) to dump outside embassies, to drive home the barbaric practice of removing horns from rhinos. The practice is making these animals' numbers dwindle at an alarming rate. Here is the link and it is quite an entertaining video if you can get past the public display of toe nails being ceremoniously clipped.
7) Now the image of a human's bottom literally placed strategically above a drain hole may not ruffle your feathers but I'm sure the image did cause offence for some sensitive persons. The campaign launched by Green Family Youth Association of Environmental Protection clearly aims to draw attention to the issue of storm-water drain pollution by stirring up a gut reaction to some cheeky (in more ways than one) imagery. What people may not realise is that our actions in our gardens (laying concrete paths and non-permeable surfaces) affects our stormwater systems and groundwater and dirty run-off eventually makes its way to our rivers and seas, so we should go for low impact fertilisers and pesticides and practice erosion and sediment controls. The 'Family and Youth Association' tag is interesting, but given the campaign is over 5 years old, the public consternation is sure to have died down!
8) I knew I could rely on my favourite eco cartoonist, Rohan Chakravarty to appeal to the sweetness and goodness in his audience to draw out some eco empathy, as he does, again and again. This morning I found this cartoon in my Google Inbox, which enabled me to add another cheeky example of environmentalists using some 'saucy' themes to get the attention of the public. Thanks again to Mr Rohan Chakravarty. The link above explains the 'Plexus' reference.
Now we are on a quest for number 9). I will add to this list as more potentially nasty, offensive and 'rude' campaigns emerge. In summary, a campaign using some crassness or unpleasantness can work well provided the potentially offensive theme or feature isn't 'laboured' (overdone) and that the environmental message is conveyed in a simple way that most of the public will grasp. Of those above, we think campaigns 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 manage to achieve their eco marketing aim and convey the message, clearly, without going too far in offending the public. Arguably 7 went a little too far in using the 'bum hole' as the equivalent of the environmental drain. Us environmentalists are becoming a touch CRUDER and WEIRDER to appeal to a younger, easily bored audience.
This is the second post in the series of what kind of environmental messages work effectively to draw in the widest possible audience. I had to start with a photo of the gorgeous Jackie Eco, eco comedienne looking fabulous. Jackie I'm waiting for you to get back to me with a campaign I can add in for 2013.
The last post concerned some tips for making your environmental tweets, or captions more captivating! In this post, I am putting together my list of some of the TOP GREEN CAMPAIGNS well from my perspective for 2013, in terms of their creativity, and not merely their ability to convey information.
1) Banksy's Siren of the Lambs
Whether you are a carnivore (such as myself!), whether you are child or grown-up, this video of performance art by Banksy - street artist carries a potent environmental message. Sirens of the Lambs is powerful in its message because of the simplicity in the way it is executed - a truck driving around Manhattan emitting a gentle squealing sound - which is the plaintive cry of the animals on the way to their abbatoiresque doom. It is powerful because it fires up our senses, and every emotion (despair, hope, and the animals heads bobbing up and down is kind of funny too), rouses you to think about whether you might eat the odd vegetarian meal (or embrace Meatless Mondays!), and is a real campaign conversation starter. I already wrote about it on my Converse Conserve blog last year.
This highlights the importance of the visual image in conveying ideas about the environment and behaviour change which brings us to the next campaign.
2) The Art of Visualising Climate Change
This is a video that highlights the ways that scientists and artists can use Infographics to create a more compelling visual story through font size and font emphasis, to conjure up the right imagery, and convey the effects of climate change. For eg in one caption the words are shaped to look like ice or the cracking ocean. Words are conveyed using appropriate fonts, depending on the meaning that's intended. The commentator refers to the process as 'taking the data and bringing it to life visually'. Then there is discussion about 'the polar game' that deals with sea levels rising and preventing a major city from becoming submerged. It's designed in such a way as to make climate change a more engaging topic. Great stuff.
Another one well worth a viewing.
3) Follow the Frog
This video doesn't need to be elaborated upon in great depth except to say that it's released by Rainbow Alliance, and is reminding the average viewer (plus the extreemie greeenie) that you don't need to quit your job, and go off and do a whole lot of excessive things - to save the rain forest whereupon you'll probably end up in a jail without your passport ... you just need to Follow the Frog - by buying products with the Rainbow Alliance frog logo - showing they are approved rainforest friendly, products. It's very memorable, and effective and definitely deserves to be in the top 5 creative campaigns.
4) A Brief History of the 5 Cent Bag Tax
This is another clever video that lifts the very boring topic of a tax on plastic bags out of the doldrums and by incorporating some slapstick and humour helps the average viewer realise the worth of something as simple as a small tax to help people remember their reusable bags.
5) Make it Possible Video
This is probably the most powerful of all of the videos I've seen in terms of engaging our emotions - so none of these are campaigns are named in any particular order. The singing animals do stir you to want to do more for this cause - either eat less or no meat, or to eat only free range produce or RSPCA approved. Certainly it would make most people want to always avoid battery hen (cage raised) eggs, or pork from stalled sows.
6) How to Scare a Shark
This one by Rohan Chakravarty - master environmental cartoonist from India, is wonderful for its simplicity in the cartoon message and I also love that Rohan always gives a heartfelt explanation beneath his cartoons. It never occurred to me that sharks can't swim without their fins - not that I've ever been one to swim with sharks, or a shark fin soup fan.
Keep them coming Rohan and continuing to educate us.
7) Bank Watch
This is Bill Oddie (of the Goodies ilk) and he weaves a witty and insightful commentary around the phenomenon of HSBC, the banking institution which according to Oddie, has been the financier behind all manner of deforestation projects in Sarawak/Borneo, Malaysia. It's an entertaining video which would prompt a lot of us to sign the 38 Degrees petition which can be signed here.
8) The Water Cycle Boogie
I just had to add one in for the littlies, who generally like to jiggle about and sing a song. This one doesn't bear any further commentary, as most of us have had rules about water wasteage, drummed in to us.
So what do all these eco-creative videos have in common? They were all released in 2013 and are all in my view informative and entertaining. They all hold out some form of emotional appeal to a wider audience, and don't saturate the audience with too much information.
9) Last Stand of the Orangutan
I belatedly discovered this wonderful video of the In your Palm campaign. Pardon the pun , but the message in this video speaks for itself, in that there is an orangutan speaking in sign language with a young girl also signing about what foods they eat and orangutan habitat destruction. It's an inspiring and touching video, worthy of checking out.
Australian eco-creatives, I only see you mentioned once amongst this list at Number 5)! So it's time us Aussies lifted our game! It's time to appeal to some local comedians and film-makers to up the ante - and get more eco-creative in our campaigns.
Please feel free to post a comment with any campaigns that you think deserve to be on this list and I will look at adding them.
At our Get Eco-Creative exhibition last weekend there was a theme running through: river and acquatic health and the ways our green messages can be conveyed in relation to this theme. So it is time to get back in to the serious business of the day, and talk about some more seriously inspiring environmental videos which also have a major bearing on river/sea environments.
Two names bubble, foam and spring to mind: Shark Girl and Mission of Mermaids.
You can also see my blog where I provide plenty of stimulating discussion about fertilisers, pathogens, engine oil and the like and how these impact on river and sea species (are you still awake? No I actually try to write the blog in a way so that the material is kept 'hale and hearty' as far as possible. )
On Blooming and Bold blogspot, there is a post I wrote today about hurricanes, floods and the role played by gardens. Now, anyone who reads that blog will see I have a strange fascination for dingey, arcane drains and love to be loquacious about landscapes and the way that our gardens link up with the wider landscape.
However, the trick is to write about the topic in a way that will engage the reader (with the use of humour or light-heartedness which infuses the topic with greater hope), and avoids putting the reader to sleep. So I hope I achieve that, adequately.
Speaking of rainwater, here is a link to another educational video for children viewed on the Groundwater Foundation site, concerning groundwater and keeping acquifers clean. In Australia, most of our water comes from dams or reservoirs, but similar principles apply in terms of groundwater pollution, and taking care with what we tip in to our sewerage and stormwater pipes and drains, organics in the garden, sediment and erosion control etc.
This video for children is another example of making sustainability education fun.
Contributors to Converse Conserve.Com
Nicolle K., Peter Nesbit, (cartoonist) Chris Palmer (film-maker), Jackie Eco (comedienne),
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