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Green Talk – 4 Campaigns to Get You Excited for Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day (it’s tomorrow!), we would like to spotlight four [fairly recent] campaigns promoting environmental initiatives. They differ in the approaches they take, the mediums they use and the causes they support but they’re all great examples of marketing “green” initiatives in creative and compelling ways.

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1. Greenpeace Tells LEGO Everything is NOT Awesome

To generate support for a petition asking LEGO to end its partnership with Shell, Greenpeace enlisted the help of London-based creative agency Don’t Panic.

As part of the campaign, the agency produced a short video depicting oil enveloping a pleasant arctic scene made entirely of LEGOs. To date, the video has over 7 million views and according to a statement from LEGO’s CEO, the toymaker will not be renewing its co-promotional contract with Shell.

The short video uses a series of contrasts to make its case. Its narrative and imagery juxtapose the cinematic notes of an apocalyptic blockbuster and the wonderment of a child’s imagination. Another contrast occurs through the melancholy remix of “Everything is Awesome,” its distinctively sad vibe contrasting with its denotatively positive message. Together, these contrasts argue that Shell and LEGO don’t have any business together.

The final image of the Shell flag raised above the oil leaves little doubt as to who’s to blame for the massive destruction, and a “Sign the Petition” popup gives viewers a way to act. Overall, a great application of irony that serves up its message with panache.

2. Earth Hour – Don’t Be The Only One

Advertising agency Leo Burnett Australia co-founded Earth Hour with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2007. In 2011, the agency produced the television commercial “Moths” to encourage participation in the electricity-free hour. Like the LEGO example, this commercial draws on classic end-of-the-world cinematic tropes like those used in “The Birds,” but it uses them in a comedic way.

While the WWF occasionally dabbles in humor, solemn ads that emphasize negative potentialities are its mainstay. This lighthearted approach does a great job appealing to those who might not have committed to Earth Hour yet without coming off as didactic or preachy. The dialogue throughout is natural and the line at the end – “Don’t be the only one” – makes participation seem natural and easy. The only disappointing thing here is that it isn’t a full-length feature film!

3. Run 4 Tiger – A Home Run from Russia?

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 12.03.48 PM

Created by Hungry Boys for WWF Russia, Run4Tiger spreads awareness of the dwindling Amur tiger population by encouraging people to compete with a tiger in a race. The website allows participants to compare the mileage they track with various fitness apps to the distance covered by a real tiger. If they don’t win (which, really, how many people run more than a tiger?) the competitors are encouraged to donate $5 to the WWF.

This campaign cleverly relates something that people think of rarely – the endangered status of the Amur tiger – to something that [some] people think about and do every day – running. It’s a smart way to raise awareness but we’re a bit dubious as to whether this campaign will raise significant donations since the “donate” call to action is subsumed by the “join the project and compete” call to action.

The website design itself is getting quite a bit of attention – it earned an 8/10 on awwwards.com. While the interactive introduction is certainly beautiful, we’re not sold. What significance do the moving dots have? When you have statistical information it seems strange to use details without any significance. We want the dots to mean something – is each dot a tiger? A firefly? Anything?! Overall the minimalist look and well-executed typography sit well with us but we’re definitely not going to be challenging the tiger anytime soon.

 4. EDF – If You Don’t, Who Will?

l'orangoutang-DP-ANGIf you don’t preserve nature by using low-wattage bulbs, who will?

Today with simple everyday actions, everyone can help preserve the environment and save power at the same time.

French Electricity company EDF worked with the agency Publicis Conseil to produce the ad campaign “Orangutan.” Hoping to encourage consumers to adopt energy-saving practices, the campaign leverages absurd images of various animals performing energy-conserving tasks.

This campaign does a wonderful job of showing cause and effect in an unexpected way.  An orangutan screwing in a light bulb seems out there, but really it just cuts out the middle man—the human—to illustrate the bulb’s direct impact on nature.

The ad series also owes a lot of its power to the directness of the language it uses – it immediately implicates the viewer by asking a question. It also manages to educate readers by depicting different energy saving actions that real people can take to protect the environment, while the absurdity of the images keeps the ads from feeling guilt-trippy. Also, there is a penguin in one ad so that’s ALWAYS a plus.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of some of our favorite “green” campaigns. Will you share some of your favorites with us in the comments below?

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As RoundPeg’s graphic designer, Kiana puts her skills to work on websites, print ads, signs and other things we don’t have space to list. She loves elephants, fears sock monkeys and is almost fully conversant in Thai. Kiana hopes for a world where people use honesty and positivity to overcome cultural differences and achieve mutual understanding. She also makes delicious cookies. Learn more about Kiana

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