Last month in Cannes, Bill Clinton exhorted advertising people to use their powers of communication to elucidate, and thus help solve, some of the world's most pressing problems—in particular, global warming. This new Greenpeace video from Partizan in London is presumably the kind of messaging to which he was referring.
Set to Radiohead's "Everything in Its Right Place," from Kid A, the spot—titled "A Homeless Polar Bear in London"—shows a polar bear nosing around the decaying, smog-choked British capital, the detritus of rampant consumerism strewn about everywhere. "As the Arctic melts, the rush to exploit its resources is starting," the actor Jude Law says in the voiceover. "Nobody will listen to her," he says, as we see the bear slump down near a pile of garbage under a tree. "But they'll listen to you. Join the movement. Save the Arctic." Onscreen text then points to greenpeace.org/SaveTheArctic and pushed the hashtag #SaveTheArctic.
Visually, the spot is quite an achievement. The CGI bear meshes impressively with the environment, and the scenery is oppressively bleak. And while some will surely complain that it is maudlin—and perhaps too obvious and heavy-handed in its imagery—it nonetheless generates an undeniable power, largely through the haunting soundtrack.
The oil company Shell takes a particular beating in the video, as the bear at one point stumbles into a Shell gas station and sniffs the gas pump disconsolately.
Both Law and Radiohead's Thom Yorke have released statements about the spot. Law says: "As the Arctic sea ice melts, polar bears are being forced to go far beyond their normal habitat to find food and look after their young. This film is a powerful expression of how our fates are intertwined, because climate change is affecting all of us no matter where we live. Right now a handful of oil companies are trying to carve up the Arctic for the sake of the next quarterly results but a global movement is growing to stop them. I stand with hundreds of thousands of others who think the area should be made into a sanctuary, protected from corporate greed for good."
Yorke adds: "An oil spill in the Arctic would devastate this region of breathtaking beauty, while burning that oil will only add to the biggest problem we all face, climate change. That's why I'm backing this campaign."
Clinton may have a new spot to add to the DirecTV campaign in his list of favorite ads.
Creatives: Michael Geoghegan, Simon Riley
Production: Partizan, London
Director: Michael Geoghegan
Producer: Russell Curtis
Director of Photography: Vincent Warin
Editing House: Stitch, London
Editor: Leo King
Post Production: The Moving Picture Company, London