A lesson from Tom Cruise on promoting green via the power of film

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 | Global Cool | No Comments

tom cruiseThe Global Cool Foundation are now working with the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) to encourage the placement of green behaviours in films. Placing these behaviours in films is an attractive prospect for Global Cool as it normalises the actions (or products) for the viewer.

Getting people to change their behaviour to reduce carbon emissions is the aim, not getting them to be interested in climate change.

An example of this sort of placement is the use of BMW’s chic new i8 plug-in hybrid in the new Mission Impossible film. Tom Cruise will use the electric hybrid car in the new film, The Ghost Protocol.

Behaviour placement is particularly effective in action films like the Mission Impossible series as cars are an important part of the film and, so it’s very positive that this film will be promoting an eco-friendly vehicle.

Using an inflential, sexy actor like Tom Cruise also promotes the use of green products and behaviours as “normal”.

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Environmentalists need to follow brands’ lead and get ‘behaviour placement’ on screens

Monday, February 28th, 2011 | News, Our Philosophy | 1 Comment

people watching tvProduct placement hits UK TV screens today following a relaxation of the rules on television advertising. The first product to be placed will be a Nescafe coffee machine on the ITV show This Morning.

Product placement is an attractive proposition for brands because it drives people’s behaviour by normalising those actions (or products) in the eyes of the viewer.

Environmentalists need to take a similar approach in the drive to change people’s behaviour in order to prevent climate change. If we see our favourite characters in Coronation Street recycling, or see Brad Pitt riding a bike everywhere in a film, or see Simon Cowell in his mansion with solar panels in the background, we are much more likely to consider that behaviour aspirational and desirable. This type of campaigning is therefore more effective at changing behaviour than, for example, taking out posters on buses telling people how much carbon they can save by ditching their cars.

We know from our own campaigns at Global Cool that most people want to know what’s in it for them (being as cool and sexy as Brad Pitt, for example) rather than what’s in it for the planet. Does that matter? Absolutely not. Getting people to change their behaviour to reduce carbon emissions is the aim, not getting them to believe in climate change and become eco warriors. We’ll need to make taking the bus just as aspirational as driving a car, and if we need Brad Pitt’s help to do that, that’s fine.

That’s why Global Cool has recently announced a partnership with the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), who will facilitate us working with the film industry to ‘place’ green behaviours into films. This isn’t about making the production of films more green, it’s about using the film to show green behaviours, leveraging film’s power to pull large audiences which influence people’s lifestyle choices.

If it works for Nescafe then it can work for climate change too.

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The King speaks: Colin Firth on greening film

Monday, January 17th, 2011 | Global Cool | No Comments

colin firthWe announced our partnership with the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) towards the end of last year. Among the people we spoke to about ‘greening’ film at the BIFAs was Colin Firth (see the video below).

With Colin picking up a Best Actor award at the Golden Globes last night for his most recent role, in the British film The King’s Speech, and with the film tipped to go on to great success at the Oscars, this seemed like an apt moment to reflect on Global Cool’s role in British film.

Global Cool is extremely pleased to be working with the British Independent Film Awards to help deliver advice for films makers about green behaviour and lifestyle placement in films. The concept of behaviour and lifestyle placement has grown out of the success of product placement in TV, films, books, music and celebrity culture in influencing brand popularity and shopping habits. Brands routinely ‘place’ their products in films, often paying large amounts for this. An example of this is seen in the film Valentine’s Day and Blackberry phones. It may be that products littering our screens, newspapers and radio waves soon become part of societal norms or that people aspire to be part of celebrity culture, either way, people emulate what they see and brands reap the profit returns.

The advantage of using ‘placement’ isn’t confined to brands and companies anymore. Treating pro-social and pro-environment lifestyles as a product, recently the NBC network has ‘placed’ and incorporated green living into its TV programmes, with group bike rides, recycled shopping bags, cardboard recycling obsessives and an Al Gore appearance as some examples. More recently than this, the charity Drinkaware has released research highlighting the excessive role alcohol plays in British Soaps. It is calling for healthier lifestyles to be demonstrated in British Soaps, as well as the negative impacts of drinking to be portrayed. It is believed that normalising the negative consequences of drinking will change social acceptance of excessive drinking.

Global cool agrees with “greening” our TVs and films and the positive impact it will have on viewers. The power of persuasion for living pro-environmentally should be harnessed, and Global Cool is excited to be a part of this in the British film industry.

What do you think about the idea of “greening” film and television?

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BIFA and Global Cool join forces to harness the power of the screen to promote greener living

Monday, December 6th, 2010 | Global Cool | 1 Comment

colin firth and wifeGlobal Cool is delighted to be working with the British Independent Film Awards to promote green living. Over the coming year we will be working together to develop an initiative that will deliver essential advice and information to film makers on how they can harness the powerful influence of their films to inspire their audience to take positive steps towards a greener lifestyle.

In 2009, the UK Film Council reported that UK cinema attendance had reached a seven-year high, with 173.5 million box office admissions. We want to leverage the potential of that reach and empower film makers with the knowledge and insight that can make a real difference in helping to create a more environmentally friendly society.

This doesn’t mean developing films that specifically focus on the climate and sustainability agenda, but a more subtle approach that introduces green behaviours seamlessly within the narrative of the picture; for example by showing people riding bikes or simply recycling at relevant points within the film. Reference points such as these help to normalise pro-environmental behaviour in a non-preachy way, making the action more socially acceptable to the viewing public.

BIFA logoUS television shows such as 10 Things I Hate About You and Desperate Housewives are great examples of this type of approach. With the women of Wisteria Lane regularly using shopping bags that carry the recycling logo, and the lead character in 10 Things…, Kat Stratford, running her car on vegetable oil. We are keen to see how we can translate this approach to the UK film industry, to create a positive environmental impact that has the potential to go above and beyond solely reducing the carbon footprint of the production itself.

Ralph Fiennes and Global Cool CEO Caroline Fiennes (yes, they are related)

Not that this isn’t important of course, but imagine the positive effects of influencing the millions of people that pass through the UK box office every year towards greener living. The potential to lower the 75 per cent of emissions that individuals can influence through their everyday activity is massive.

Jointly, Global Cool and BIFA want to furnish film makers with the necessary tools and insight to make these highly impactful decisions, and through the power of the screen, showcase the simple actions that individuals can take to live a greener lifestyle.

Look out for our activity over the coming year and if you are interested in being a part of this, please do get in touch. Together we can make a difference.

Check out our photos from BIFA over on the Global Cool site

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We run Global Cool, the only online magazine in the UK truly inspiring the mainstream to live greener

We create content about music, fashion, celebrity and lifestyle trends. We use this content to inspire people normally turned off by climate change to lead greener lives. We reached more than 200,000 people in 2011 and we don't preach to the converted. In fact, 93% of our audience say we are the only green organisation they engage with.

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