NEW YORK The crescendo that will be the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December continues to build today with the release of the song “Beds Are Burning.” This marks the start of phase two of the “tck tck tck: Time for Climate Justice” campaign, created by Euro RSCG on behalf of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan by Euro RSCG.
The release follows a significant landmark for the campaign last Friday, when the U.K. government endorsed the campaign and played its part in the “chain letter” started by Annan, which he sent to 100 world leaders. On Sept. 21, U.K. climate and energy secretary Ed Miliband, along with several other members of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s cabinet, responded to Annan’s letter by writing to 100 of the U.K.’s business and media leaders, agreeing with the aims of the climate change campaign and asking each of the recipients to write to 100 key people with the same message.
“This endorsement was particularly important,” said David Jones, worldwide CEO of Havas Worldwide, parent of Euro RSCG, “because getting the attention of the governments that will be at Copenhagen was a key objective of the campaign.”
Even more pressure on the governments attending Copenhagen will be brought to bear with the release of the song. Every free download of the song will automatically add the listener’s name to the petition that Annan will present to summit attendees.
The song is a re-recording of Australian band Midnight Oil’s 1987 hit. The:Hours, the record label that Euro RSCG acquired in July 2008, led production.
“The track was chosen,” said Fabien Moreau, one of the founders of The:Hours, “because the fastest way to create a global movement and ensure the participation of major names was to use a previous hit. Given its heritage, ‘Beds Are Burning’ works really well as a ‘We Are the World’ for the planet”.
Once the original artists, Midnight Oil, had reworked the lyrics, the core of the track was recorded in New York, including the base vocals by Marion Cotillard, Milla Jovovich and Serena Ryder, among others.
“That’s when the project went global and open source,” said Moreau.
The base track was sent to more than 60 artists and performers around the world, who submitted their parts via a specially built Web site. Some 250 audio and visual contributions were then collected at Rive-K Studios in Paris and edited into the final music track and video.
To promote the track, Euro RSCG reached agreements with a broad range of partners including Virgin Radio, Yahoo Music, iTunes, Google, Microsoft Zune, YouTube, Myspace and MTV. iTunes, for example, suspended its rule on only keeping content free for a limited number of days in order to get in step with the campaign.
Obviously, the hope is that this extensive collaborative effort will deliver a substantial boost to the petition and will ultimately result in a robust and global climate agreement. The effort will also be the latest test of whether the advertising industry can affect consumer behavior in ways other than persuading people to buy goods and services.
Jones certainly believes that it will. “I passionately believe that what our industry actually excels at is using our creativity to change people’s behavior,” he said. “Given the state of the world, I believe that we in the creative industries not only have an opportunity but an obligation to use that talent and our creativity to change people’s behavior around some of the bigger issues facing the world.”