Leo Burnett Sydney’s Earth Hour initiative for WWF, which won one of four Titanium awards handed out at Cannes last year, has been opened up to Australia’s entire advertising, media and marketing community. As well as the feel-good factor that comes with helping to save the planet, there are four trips to next year’s international advertising festival at Cannes to be won. Campaign Brief will give away two trips to the creative team who demonstrate the most effective and/or inspirational way to leverage Earth Hour 2008 with judging by an international panel of top creatives led by Leo Burnett’s global creative director Mark Tutssel. Fairfax’s The Sydney Morning Herald will award a trip each to the client and agency person behind the best work with the jury to be chaired by Noel Purcell, group general manager, Westpac.
Rolled out in Sydney for the first time this year, Earth Hour 2007 had 2.2 million Sydneysiders turn off their lights for an hour as a stand against global warming, cutting the city’s energy consumption by 10.2%, the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road for one hour. Over 2,200 Sydney based companies took part, including McDonald’s, which switched off its golden arches; Coke, which screened Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth; Energy Australia, which co-sponsored advertisements on metrolites; and Guinness, which gave out free beers at bars.
This year WWF is hoping for universal support from corporate Australia for the event which will take place on March 29 at 8pm. Top agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, George Patterson Y&R, Clemenger BBDO, JWT, DDB, SO&M, BMF, Host, The Glue Society, Publicis Mojo, BWM, M&C Saatchi, Whybin\TBWA, BWM, Lowe Hunt, Euro RSCG, McCann-Erickson, The Campaign Palace, The Furnace, Naked, CHE, Grey, Badjar Ogilvy, Cummins Nitro, Samuelson Talbot, Smart, Marmalde, Spinach and Draft FCB - essentially the entire Sydney and Melbourne ad industry - have pledged support and will work with their clients to create Earth Hour themed campaigns and events.
The success of last year’s event has galvanised interest from other cities and so far 20 cities have signed up to take part in 2008 including most of the Australian capital cities, Tel Aviv, Auckland, Copenhagen and 12 US cities.
Says Leo Burnett national creative director, Mark Collis: “Earth Hour was a unique moment in time which we hope to make a permanent date on the world calendar. Opening the brief up to all agencies in this way is equally unique and exciting.”
Tim Castree, CEO of Leo Burnett Sydney, says the agency has always considered Earth Hour the Linux of social marketing: “We are trying to create this global open source community that comes together around a common view which is about trying to make a difference in the fight against global warming. What more powerful way to make that take hold than get the full creative force of the whole advertising and marketing industry behind Earth Hour? If we could achieve what we achieved last year with the small team and small resources we had available, then imagine how much more we could achieve if we had the entire industry behind this initiative,” he says.
When Castree approached the CEOs of the top 25 agencies in Australia to get involved, they all said yes without hesitation: “I think they see the opportunity to do fantastic creative work, we have this vision that many creative agencies will win awards next year for work they do on Earth Hour. It’s a competitive industry but at the end of the day there is a lot of camaraderie and mutual respect,” says Castree.
Jay Benjamin, joint-ECD of JWT Sydney [with Andy DiLallo], endorsed the call-to-action, saying this is why he got into advertising.
“This is a really special and rare opportunity. I was an environmental science major early in my university days but never felt I could make a difference (or much money) without the ability to speak to millions of people. So I moved over to mass communication hoping that one day something like this would pop up. Now it has,” he says.
US born DiLallo added that last year at Cannes his fellow countryman Al Gore put out a challenge to the industry to help lead the charge on creating awareness of global climate change and with Earth Hour 2008 Leo Burnett has found a way to answer this challenge: “This is a great way to all come together in a truly selfless act, something far too rare in our business,” he says.
“It’s great that something as simple as turning our lights off can light up the creative community,” says Warren Brown, ECD of BMF. “Getting us all involved in making all Australians aware and conscious of our lifestyles and how they impact on the planet is a truly worthwhile cause.”
Similarly, Garry Horner, creative director of Whybin\TBWA Sydney, says it’s important for every agency to become involved. One of its clients is the SMH, but Horner says other clients they have approached are also keen: “Here is an amazingly exciting conceptual area to be working in because you can break all the boundaries. It’s creating a huge social movement and being able to touch people in that way is fantastic,” says Horner.
Castree doesn’t think the fact that Earth Hour won Titanium last year at Cannes will deter the judges from awarding it again: “Just like Nike can win awards every year for the work it does around the world I don’t see why Earth Hour can’t win creative awards every year. It’s no different to any other brand in that sense,” he says.
Ads should run between February 1, 2008 and March 29, 2008 and reflect Earth Hour’s ultimate goal of getting people to reduce their carbon emissions by five percent a year. They can support the Earth Hour event, combat global warming in general, or be more specific, such as provide tips to reduce people’s environmental footprint on the planet. The brief and guidelines are being emailed to 360 industry leaders for distribution to their agencies. All the members of the AANA and MFA will also receive the brief.
Agencies can download the ‘Earth Hour Advertising Partnership Kit’ via this FTP site:
Pictured: The CEOs and CDs of some of Australia’s top agencies gathered this week for the Earth Hour 2008 briefing at Leo Burnett’s Sydney and Melbourne offices.