Denmark's capital, Copenhagen is hosting the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) from December 07-18, 2009. To spread awareness and build public opinion, Greenpeace, the non-government organisation that works for the protection and conservation of the environment, has launched a gripping outdoor campaign at the Copenhagen airport.
On November 30, adverts with heads of states were placed all over the airport by the global coalition, tcktcktck.org, and Greenpeace calling on world leaders to secure a fair, ambitious and binding deal at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. Each ad depicts a different head of state, such as French president, Nicolas Sarkozy; German chancellor, Angela Merkel; US president, Barrack Obama; Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev; and Spanish prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero among others.
The ads are set in the year 2020 and feature the apologetic heads of state, now a decade older, saying, "I'm sorry. We could have stopped catastrophic climate change…we didn't." The body copy reads, 'Copenhagen 2009 Act Now - Change The Future.'
Martin Lloyd, global communications manager, Greenpeace Climate Change Campaign, tells afaqs!, "The idea behind aging all the heads of states was that the consequences of climate change are happening already, but by 2020 - the time the ads are 'set' - they'll be more terrible and completely unstoppable, if we don't do something now. Whether that happens or not is up to these leaders."
He adds, "There's also something visually arresting about it. We recognise them; but they're not heroic anymore. They're old, tired failures. It's shocking to see these politicians that way."
Greenpeace hopes that this shock value pushes people into action, because this scenario could very possibly become a reality. The leaders featured in the campaign were picked out, since they are critical to the climate talks and are expected to be there in person.
The creative idea, media placement and strategy for this campaign were done in-house by Greenpeace. "The creative concept came from Toby Cotton, a freelance designer who used to be a full-time employee of Greenpeace and has always been a source of great ideas," shares Lloyd.
Leveraging airport media was a key idea, since the negotiators, journalists and the leaders themselves, heading to the climate summit, would pass through the airport. The arrivals hall at the airport was, thus, one of the most valuable locations imaginable.
While the campaign will mainly be up at the Copenhagen airport, similar adverts have also been placed in some in-flight magazines, to reach the target audience before they even set foot in Denmark. The campaign will run for a month, right through the climate summit.
The response the campaign has received has been phenomenal, says Lloyd. "Journalists have been seeing the adverts as they arrive, taking pictures with their mobile phones and filing stories straight away. Every major paper in Italy reported them. Radio stations in Brazil have covered these adverts - we never expected that. We've just had to book a TV crew to film them; so we can support the interest from television. Something about these adverts has really boiled it down for people. Climate change is happening now, and if our leaders don't act today, they'll be sorry," he concludes.