What will our planet look like in the year 2045?
Will we enjoy an abundance of clean water, fresh produce and renewable energy? Or will we be unable to drink from our own taps, and see our kids have to reach beneath "pollution masks" to eat cold, processed foods on a family trip to the park?
A new interactive ad by M&C Saatchi Stockholm for Swedish pension management company SPP shows you what a huge impact your seemingly unimportant choices can make by juxtaposing starkly divergent visions of our shared future—one in which people and businesses have devoted themselves to sustainability, and one in which we've allowed self-interest to trump the need for responsible environmental stewardship.
And what an incredible interactive ad it is. Check it out (on desktop only) in English here:
The site allows the user to manually drag a slider between the two potential realities—as landscapes, food sources, news reports and fashion trends go from bright and hopeful to grim, grey and dystopic. Even the characters' facial expressions change as a contemporary version of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" plays—and one man ponders the contents of his refrigerator: fresh leeks and peppers, or banana paste and "salad" in a bottle? The ambient noise changes, too, with a constant low industrial roar on the dystopian side.
The future will even affect pets, which will either walk with the help of flying drones with leashes or find themselves scrounging for scraps in the polluted city square as headlines like "Riots in 32 Cities" run, unnoticed, in the background.
SPP primarily helps people and businesses better manage their savings, but the company has also been working on its own sustainability projects for more than 20 years—and this campaign, created by M&C Saatchi and production company B-Reel, demonstrates how SPP's interests go well beyond basic pensions to touch on issues of central importance to Earth and its inhabitants.
Explaining how the project came together, agency senior copywriter and partner Linda Elers tells AdFreak: "We had to invite people to actually get a feeling of what the future might be and to show that just saving for retirement isn't enough—in order to be able to retire in a good world, you have to save sustainably."
Sustainable or socially responsible investing is a relatively new financial strategy that centers on populating one's portfiolio with companies known for their positive environmental records.
While SPP has long conducted surveys and launched other PR-centric projects to share its green initiatives with the public, 2014 marked the first time the company used those messages in paid ad campaigns under the tagline, "Small choices can make a big difference."
Elers, who led creative on the account along with her husband and partner Alex Elers, says, "We thought the interactive part was very suitable for this concept, since you are actually making a 'small choice' by using the slider—and you immediately see the consequence of it."
She also credits B-Reel director Patrik Gyllström's "attention to detail and wide experience with digital and technically demanding productions" with helping bring the campaign to life.
"People have a hard time visualizing the future and connecting the small choices they make today with consequences that will occur in 30 years," Elers says. This campaign brilliantly illustrates that link while also reminding us why a 2013 United Nations Environment Programme report called Sweden the world's leader in sustainable investments.
As the ad copy puts it, "Saving sustainably pays off. For the world and your finances."
The campaign will be promoted in coming months via short, trailer-style versions of the film set to appear as YouTube pre-rolls, along with video banner ads and digital out-of-home.