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

Monday, February 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 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.

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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