Ad Council Takes On Global Warming

ATLANTA The Advertising Council and Environmental Defense today unveiled a new public service campaign to fight global warming.

The work includes one 15-second and two 30-second television commercials and two 60-second radio spots that are being distributed to media outlets this week. Print, outdoor and Web ads will be introduced in May. Ogilvy & Mather in New York created the campaign.

The PSAs direct people to the Web site,, for information about global warming and ways Americans can reduce their impact on the planet.

One of the TV spots, “Tick,” shows a fast montage of close-ups of children’s faces as they say “tick,” imitating the sound of a clock. The shots are interspersed with comments about the effects of global warming, such as “massive heat waves” and “devastating hurricanes,” in place of the expected word.

The other spot shows a middle-age man standing on a railroad track as a train approaches behind him. He says that the effects of global warming might not alter the climate for another 30 years and won’t affect him. When he steps off the tracks as the train reaches him, there is a small girl standing in the path of the train behind him.

The campaign was created from the assumption that global warming exists, said Josh Tavlin, co-creative director of the campaign.

“We accept the view that there is a problem,” Tavlin said. “We are not discussing the causes. That’s for scientists.” The work is designed to “provoke” viewers, not offend them, he said.

“I don’t think we are going out on a limb,” he said.

A survey by Ayres, McHenry & Associates, released in conjunction with the campaign, found that 71 percent of Americans agree that global warming is a real phenomenon and more than half attribute it to human activity. More than 90 percent said they would modify their lives to combat global warming if they knew how to do it.

“Global warming has reached the point where it threatens the world we leave our children and grandchildren, but until now Americans haven’t had a lot of information about what they can do about it,” said Fred Krupp, president of the nonprofit Environmental Defense organization. “This campaign is a wake-up call about the urgency of the problem and a public service.”