Friday, October 01, 2010

Sometimes you have to make a stand

Hated to have to do it, but just had to write to the 10:10 campaign.

Dear Sirs,

Just seen the new 'awareness' promo.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/sep/30/10-10-no-pressure-film*


We used to support your mission, but as now revealed as another over-funded activist group who seems to confuse awareness with persuasion, this is now withdrawn. This had to have been approved at the top, so the rot is too high to expect any change of attitude, much less grasp of media message reality.

And we will be advising our audience of this fact.

Unlike some, we leave what they do, or not, up to them. No pressure. No judgement.

This has set the cause of sensible dialogue back a long way, just so some more bandwagon-jumping luvvies can have another 15 minutes in the limelight at the expense of hard slog, pragmatism and a belief that the public can be persuaded as to the value of effective and efficient lifestyle choices without nanny, threat, guilt or mockery.

Especially from a 'we know what's best for you' 'elite'.

Yours faithfully,


I can only hope it was meant as satire or irony, but sadly if that was the intent it was way wide of the mark. The sorriest example of messed up messaging from self-elected, pedestal claiming dumb messengers yet. It's complex issue, guys, and fine lines need to be walked. Patronising is bad enough, but failing to connect with the audience is plain unprofessional.

*Also had to chip in, a bit less formally, here:

Curtis made dive-bombers didn't they?

Certainly made a mess, but were at least designed to hit the right target.

Philip & Tracey seem more collateral damage in a totally misplaced campaign designed to make smug gits called... ahem... Jemima (really? was the Notting Hill author just going for maximum irony?) feel secure in the knowledge that their sweet teacher is actually a lying psycho who will brook nothing but fealty... or else. Even without the Scanners homage, any educator creating a 'us' vs. 'you' scenario in this manner should be transferred to the canteen to make Turkey Twizzlers.

No pressure... or we'll kill you. Sweet. Plus I love the new voting idea. Who needs a secret ballot when we can simply see who believes what... and kill you. At least the movie seems to feel that's OK so long as it is a majority view. Is that borne out, Mr. Curtis? Maybe we could ask the Science Museum? I recall they delivered a less than satisfactory result to Mr. Ed 'settled science, blank slate' Miliband in return for his multi-million £ efforts. Money perhaos better directed to, I don't know, DOING tangible stuff as opposed to getting a pat on the back in a SoHo bar.

Sadly, this latest bit of celeb indulgence will simply further set back sensible environmental dialogue, so some luvvies can all have a back-slap at an obscure awards show in Colorado that, just this once, their entourage will have to attend.

Dire, daft and damaging. Nice one. Ta very much.

I am now a lot more worried about assaults on freedom of thought and speech by unelected 'we know what's good for you' groups with waaay too much control over the media than I am by any positive messages of sensible mitigation.

The only hope is that it was a misplaced attempt at a caution on the damaging effects of dogma, but as noted, that's a target missed by a mile. 0/10. #fail

ADDENDUM

Had a few folk ''explain" to me that this is, as I alluded above, a bunch of lite greens telling dark greens to chill.

If so, I support the strategy, but still can't get behind the creative concept, which seems way too concerned with the shock value of 'awareness', which is dead fun & sexy 'n all, but sadly rarely as effective as patient, hard, slog.

Also not sure it getting yanked quite so soon seems part of the plan, unless it went a bit more viral than intended.

Addendum 2

It would appear that it was not, as I was told by ardent supporters, a complex spoof, and has, for now, been taken down. A bit late. With poor grace. Few were concerned 'it was not funny'. Most were concerned it suggested mindset that was hardly helpful to proactive persuasion.

Interestingly, if with irony, and little surprise, discussion of this seems to have either been allowed for those who toe the line per the compliant Jemima, or simply closed down. In some places (see thread end). Animal Farm advances, as certain ex-employees of certain media organisations foretold.

Addendum 3

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/01/blow-me-up-blow-me-down/

Much of what concerns was summarised to me by a late, brief comment on the Graun article (which I did take to task):

You lot need to lighten up

(I think there was something further irony free about 'we British', rather ignoring near all appalled commenters, by a factor of about 100:1, were indeed from our fair isles)

In that short sentence, this person set up a superior, false majority tribal grouping (in their own minds at least), with a god-given right to instruct others how to think and behave.

As I replied, in context of this story... 'Or... what?'

Now wishing I'd added the sweet further invitation '...no pressure' to that.

I see this term becoming rather potent in this regard, if used effectively.

As an ex-Civ Eng/ad man, I am now a passionate, if pragmatic enviro-campaigner, concerned more with proactive DOING and reward-based, end-benefit-driven inspiration by high enviROI example over £/$-squandering, predominantly negative guilt, shame, threat, fear, nag or nanny 'talk' (from endless worldwide events to vast 'awareness' campaigns) and initiatives that simply don't add up unless you are a lobby-pleasing, subsidy-addicted, box-ticking pol, quangocrat and their high paid mates in the often well-funded NGO/charity/activism sector. That these guys get bonusses based on using public money to run ads designed to drive up hits that drive up their bonusses offends me as clear examples of conflict of interest if not fraud.

But I do dip in to the odd chat to try and haul focus back to all the good that is DONE, and can be achieved by DOING, so long as it is well-assessed and targetted. For ages I have been dismayed that near all in green has been hijacked by usually self-elected, single issue messengers clearly utterly incapable of appreciating the complexities in doing the overall message (and hence topic) justice.

And they seem to be spiraling out of control, rationalising their abject professional failures to communicate and/or persuade as a) the failure of the public to grasp their 'wisdom' and, worse, b) trying to blame them for it. I know how that would have gone done in the commercial world with client and audience alike.

So as much as I am concerned about our environmental futures, I am now as concerned with the mindsets being embraced by some, with clear abuses of free speech and democracy in pursuit of narrow, dogmatic agendas that brook no counters.

And so, when next any from this extreme element get on high horses and presume to lecture broadcast only or dictate, I will be simply saying, in future... 'Or else what?... No pressure'.

Addendum 4

My 'Junkk' activity is, of necessity, a little light at present, as I visit my Mother in her home. She has enjoyed a long, good life, but we fear it is coming to a conclusion. At least the earthly chapter. A small family unit, we are determined to stay by her side as often as possible.

Hence a PC, dongle and good WiFi connection is a boon.

Just to nudge this story along, I need not share the reams of links this story has generated. Google is your friend.

But I will share an unexpectedly quick and contrite reply to my email above. Plus what I wrote back.

From 10:10:

Please accept our apologies. You are right. We made a major misjudgement with the film. Our UK director has made an official statement on the issue, which you can see at http://www.1010global.org/uk/2010/10/statement-1010-uk-director

We will be instigating a thorough review of our processes and procedures to identify how this mistake was allowed to happen.

Once again, I offer our sincere apologies. We thank you for the support that you have given to the campaign, and hope that you can accept that we recognise our mistake, and are taking steps to respond in an appropriate manner.

From me:

Dear 10:10 team,

Thank you for a prompt reply in the circumstances, and one that I appreciate that was no fun to have to make.

After the now accepted poor decisions that went into the conception, execution and initially awful 'defences' of the 'No Pressure' piece, this more savvy, considered response is welcome, if necessarily form, and we are tempted to reconsider.

However, with regret, we will need to 'mull' a while. Something perhaps too few do. Evidently.

Yes, it was 'a' mistake, and one that should not adversely impact the many other aspects 10:10 that we endorse(d) and/or support(ed).

However, we remain concerned at the mindset at 'the top', at least as highlighted in the spotlight brought by this unfortunate controversy. This, whilst clearly at last aware of what was precipitated, does rather reveal a history of dogmatic imposition at odds with the belief in actual 'no pressure' accurate, balanced information, fun education and incentive-based, end-benefit driven culture we prefer here.

Hence, whilst pleased to accept what we presume to be a sincere apology from the author below at least, overall blanket forgiveness will take some more time and assessment. Sorry.

There are too many sucking up public (and other) funds in various names, often over-duplicating, and too often with self-indulgent 'awareness' exercises over worthy doing (our interpretation of 'action' is somewhat different) projects, and it may be that this point needs to be made still. Where it will make an impact. Not just with 10:10's leadership, but also as a message to others frustrated maybe, but so self-absorbed as to feel justified in going beyond the high profile pale, and hence making the job of others, working slowly, openly and diligently, all the more difficult.

But good luck with the aspects of you initiative that are positive in enviROI terms.


I feel for those at the helm, but they are cleary not right for the task.



1 comment:

Anita said...

Couldn't agree more. I don't understand what message the film hopes to leave in viewers minds, and what it hopes to achieve. It just doesn't seem very well thought out, and frankly, seems a bit silly and patronising.