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.
Contributors to Converse Conserve.Com
Nicolle K., Peter Nesbit, (cartoonist) Chris Palmer (film-maker), Jackie Eco (comedienne),
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