Friday, October 09, 2009


Ministers target climate change doubters in prime-time TV advert

This may not end well. No matter how well intentioned.

Climate change sceptics are to be targeted in a hard-hitting government advertising campaign that will be the first to state unequivocally that Man is causing global warming and endangering life on Earth.

The £6 million campaign, which begins tonight in the prime ITV1 slot during Coronation Street, is a direct response to government research showing that more than half the population think that climate change will have no effect on them.

Ministers sanctioned the campaign because of concern that scepticism about climate change was making it harder to introduce carbon-reducing policies such as higher energy bills.

My emphasis points.

That's quite a set of words, especially if from the PR.

As to the commercial... well... I'll reserve creative commentary. But there's a certain irony that I saw it preceded by a consumer-driven message that is, at the end of the da... world... 'buy more stuff'.

Addendum 1:

Just watching it being 'promoted' on BBC Breakfast News: the commercial that aims to scare us into taking climate change seriously. Yup, this 'un will do it. And scaring has worked great so far. But maybe doing it with kids might be a better line of attack.

Addendum 2:

Energy Minister Joan Ruddock on now explaining it helps people 'understand climate change' and 'makes it clearer'. In which case: #Major Fail! The woman is a classic poor messenger for this message. She has no clue. On science... or communications. And this is who we have steering our efforts to a greener Britain

Addendum 3:

Telegraph - Government's £6 million 'Bedtime Story' climate change ad: most pernicious waste of taxpayers' money ever?

Last time I was subjected to one of these 'awareness' fests (board bonuses seem to be measured on whether the box marked 'Yes I saw it' gets ticked by another quango's research team, which makes blowing money on comms budgets to drive up said bonuses a tad unethical, conflict of interest wise...IMHO) by some other eco-quango diverting money from DOING something useful (like helping poor and/or old folk with things like insulation), it was also rather directed at the audience you suggest.

Never got a reply to my question back then as to why the white, middle class family of four were off to buy their pack of four eco-bulbs in a stonking great big, black Porsche Cayenne Turbo S 4x4, when it looked like they were greening up the des res from Wandsworth B&Q to leafy Fulham. Possibly with a 'my other car is a Prius to beat the Congestion Charge' sticker in the back window, as electric cars are 'green'.... apparently, because the juice comes from... er... um...
I rather suspect that, to save a bit of dosh on house and car rental for the TVC, the producer/directors donated their pads and favoured modes of urban transport to 'help'. Nice bit of reuse, perhaps, but a smidge light on the irony front.

Still, speaking of clowns blowing money on targets, or looking good to your mates in the green elite section of the VIP lounge come the next 'concert' it could be worse... it could have been $35M blown to sit atop a column of Russian greenhouse gasses... well, well, well, well, well... not.

ps: while I think they have at last decided to look beyond reprinting press releases from agenda-comfortable sources (a bit late to be taken seriously or regain any trust, mind), I do think one 'non-solely anthro concessionary' article by one (albeit better qualified than most so far) science reporting employee is getting stretched a bit to become a "U-turn' by Aunty.

But, yes, almost Brownian in timing.

And you would think that about the bunnies, wouldn't you? Maybe they were eaten by all the alligators splashing around Gothenburg in the school project diorama Milibands D. & E. took with them to scare those easily scared types in the EU foreign ministries recently. I wonder if they got Gerry Anderson in on it all... at taxpayer's expense, natch.

green thing - NEW - Mad World - Another view. I am unsure if two wrongs justify anything. And when an ad states something as fact which is not, yet, much as some might find it helpful to be, it's not mad, it's reality, however unpalatable. And, yet again, I find myself expected to accept an analogy that is flawed. Also interesting to note the party affiliation, too.

Looking at the forces ranged around this latest icon, has it helped or merely added fuel to a distracting fire?

BBC - NEW - 'Scary' UK climate ad faces probe - a balanced piece IMHO

Treehugger - NEW - Climate Change TV Ad Under Investigation for Scaring Kids - Also balanced, though I think the responding readers took what they wanted from it. Not worth entering the lion's den by pondering the impact on sensible debate of it possibly being pulled for being factually challenged (if successful). Mr. Gore's last schoolkid outing did sooo well on that count.

Telegraph - NEW - Government TV climate ad is propaganda

Of course it is propaganda... pretty much by definition any advertising to us (ironically funded by us), by government to suit agendas, influence opinion, alter behaviours surely has to, doesn't it? By no stretch do most I see 'impartially provide information'.

And in the spirit of 'one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter' I suspect most either agree, disagree, don't care or let it wash over.

I reckon having the odd 'Boo!' can be effective and tend to tolerate 'em. And suspect most others do to. Which is why it's kinda cute this is being made about being 'scary' after the watershed.

What does get interesting is the factual basis. In my day it was called 'legal, decent, honest and truthful'. Not quite so clear what the ASA works on nowadays, but it will be interesting to see how it stands up.

Because in the PR that went with its launch there was such as this...(above):

After a similar such outing, I think involving the courts, by such as Mr. Gore's school effort, and how that worked out, if the factual basis of this effort is found wanting, I dread to think the damage done, yet again, to sensible environmental advocacy.

If these are the calibre of folk who think they are best suited to make my kids' futures better, and how they see the mission best projected, god help the planet if they end up dealing with grown-ups in Copenhagen.

Teblog - NEW - Frighten the kids, or encourage the grown-ups? Insightful

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