Monday, January 23, 2006

The Pros Of Pro Prose

When I was a struggling copywriter (as opposed to a struggling whatever I am now), I attended seminars held by top creative gurus. They always involved doing concepts, which was fun, and usually for 'issues' stuff, which was even more meaty. 

And I once had my ad held up as the best of the bunch. 

Not because it was the most striking idea, but because I had tried to deal with the topic in a way that addressed the positive apects of the product/service's solution throughout. 

As the guy kindly pointed out: "it's easy to devote a full page or most of a commercial to the juicy fun of a problem and then hope people get inspired enough to dig out the solution and why they buy the product via the logo (or now, URL) at the end... but it's much harder, more worthwhile, and ultimately of more value to the client to come up with something just as creative that shows people how to engage positively thoughout". I liked that advice, and always tried to live by it.

So it came to mind when I was sent the following URL, which is a commercial by/for Greenpeace:

In case the link doesn't work it's basically  'what would happen if a plane was rammed into a nuclear power station makes it not worth the risk'. I share it because I think it's a very powerful, single-minded piece of communication, executed well (though I have to wonder about the nuclear family's choice of holiday location). Plus, of course, a fair argument against.


Whatever the cons of nuclear power (and there are a few I can conjure up) in the 'best way to deal with global warming' debate, I have to admit to being unsure about terrorist action being used as a primary. Though now it has been raised so powerfully, and if nuclear is embraced, I really hope that the things are designed so that IT JUST CAN'T HAPPEN THIS WAY. Frankly I think if a nuke is their option of choice it is more likely to be something easier to acquire closer to home, and dirtier to deploy nowhere near their homes, that will be opted for. So maybe devoting some energies to tidying up other areas of nuclear concern elsewhere may be a good use of activist resources.

And by the logic used in the commercial we should probably avoid hydro-electric power in case the dams get sabotaged (though I'm sure the guys upstream of the 3 Gorges would have been keen to pursue that argument).

Frankly I'm a lot more concerned by cost-cutting corporates and complicit pols simply being alowed to get away with 'whoops' when there's another 3-Mile Island or Chernobyl. Or when we have a salt mile with as much space left as our landfills, and they still haven't figured out a way to deal with the stuff.

So I have to say I was a lot more encouraged by a snippet within this piece, which is pretty much about the same debate:

Environmentalists are preparing for a battle with the nuclear industry to persuade the public that green, not atomic, power is the path to the future.

"We are going to war with the nuclear industry -- but with a positive not a negative campaign," Tony Juniper, head of Friends of the Earth, told Reuters.
"We are not going to repeat the negative messages of the 1970s and 80s. The campaign for us is to show that the alternatives such as renewables and greater energy efficiency can work and nuclear is not necessary." 

Good luck to him/them. I'm much more in favour of such an approach. The tricky bit will be making it as interesting as a plane slamming into a reactor, and as end-benefit driven as that not happening.

Mr. Fixit

It's always nice to be able to point at something that's actually on our site as a result of someone  - the Community Service Volunteers (CSV) to give another worthy bunch a plug, sending us stuff they think we and our readers may enjoy:

It's as simple enough, but inspiring tale, and very 'Junkk'.

The Oscar of the title is a chap who takes in stuff that isn't working, fixes them and then gives the newly useful items to those who can most benefit.

I'm inspired and hope we can track him down. He may have some tips he'd like to share!

And maybe we can point some stuff in his direction that can help him help others.