Extinction Rebellion wrote to the UK advertising industry in May urging them to use their not inconsiderable communications power to combat the Climate Crisis.
So, how can an industry not known for its restraint when it comes to consumerism (!) tackle what is undoubtedly on of the biggest challenges to face humanity?
The event was a mix of folk from marketing and advertising worlds spanning across production, creative and media agencies as well as freelance folk and filmmakers. Jonathan Wise from the Comms Lab kicked off with an incredibly heartfelt call to arms, followed by a quick exploration of the power of story by Ella Saltmarshe.
Given such a seemingly intractable starting point, the day was great – incredibly well programmed and with a genuine feeling of commitment. At Rubber we are rebooting our entire business model to tackle this so it was great to see the energy for change in the room. There was a wealthy of positive thinking and some genuinely powerful and impassioned ideas for action.
The heart of the summit was an incredibly well presented summation of the climate crisis itself by Jeremy Mathieu from the BBC sustainability team. The tone of his presentation was brilliantly judged. Concerning enough to lay the bare facts on the table, but with enough room for action left (although it is always a gut punch to hear the reality of what we are facing!).
We don’t really consider ourselves fully an advertising company, but we’re certainly trying to tackle this issue boldy ourselves (more on that soon…), and it’ll be interesting to see what the wider industry in the UK does to get to grips with this in the coming months – as the stories we tell, in media and in marketing, will be key components in creating the change we need.