Anyone who picked up a magazine or watched TV in the early 2000’s probably remembers the shocking images and hard-to-swallow facts of the anti-smoking ‘Truth‘ campaign. Ad spots like the ominously (and appropriately) titled “Body Bags” delivered statistics about the dangers of smoking without an ounce of sugar coating–and with a healthy dose of shock value. Even if you didn’t want to hear it, you were compelled to pay attention (especially when your loving daughter cut out the magazine ads and stuck them to your steering wheel…you’re welcome, Mom!).
Now, champion of all things green and climate-related Al Gore is hoping to elicit the same can’t-look-away public reaction when it comes to not-so-pretty facts about global warming. Gore’s Climate Reality Project has hired Arnold Worldwide, one of the agencies behind “Truth,” to raise awareness about the dangers of climate change and challenge the “fake science” and half-truths being circulated.
Arnold has answered the call to action by creating a website/social media tool called “Reality Drop,” which finds climate news from all over the Web and compares it with the most relevant science. Articles displayed in red are said to contain myths and denier-science, while those displayed in green contain evidence that climate change is an undeniable scientific fact. Visitors to the site are encouraged to share the green articles on Facebook and Twitter, and also to “drop some reality” on the red articles by posting comments containing copy-and-pasted scientific facts provided on the Reality Drop website.
Pete Favat, chief creative officer at Arnold in Boston, said, “There’s massive coal-money going into creating fake science and denier science that denies climate change is happening…They pay a lot of money to spin fiction, so the objective was to create something where people could drop facts into denier-science websites and forums to stir up the pot and get people to speak up against this false information.”
And in case “dropping reality” on corporations’ asses for the good of Mother Earth isn’t enough of an incentive in and of itself, the more green articles people share and the more truth they post in red articles’ comments, the more virtual “points” and “badges” they can earn. The idea: by encouraging some positive, healthy competition amongst users, the campaign can make its content more shareable and get others involved.
Here is a video introducing the world to the concept of Reality Drop. While (mercifully) less grotesque than the Truth video, the similar underlying message — a call to fight back against big corporations that don’t have our best interests at heart — makes it almost equally compelling. Lines like “We’ve got the one thing big fossil fuel can’t buy — we’ve got you, and now you’ve got Reality Drop,” clearly meant to position “us” against “them” in the interest of the global good, are delivered dexterously; we can certainly see some of the same minds behind “Truth” at work here.
What do you think, readers? Does this campaign have the potential to be as effective as its predecessor?