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Communications agencies empower the voice of global youth to create support for climate action


Communications agencies empower the voice of global youth to create support for climate action


An international campaign for climate action has helped present the voice of the planet’s youth to world leaders at the UN Climate Summit last week as part of a global project chaired by Al Gore.


The global climate change campaign conducted by agencies of the WPP network, including GPY&R Sydney, climaxed at the UN Climate Summit, when its video composition (below) of auditions received from 87 countries was watched by the business, political and religious leaders and representatives from all UN member countries gathered at the Summit’s opening ceremony.

Along with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, former US Vice President Al Gore and introduced by celebrity Li Bing Bing, eight young people representing the world’s youth addressed the delegates of the UN Climate Summit via the film.

GPY&R Sydney managing director Andrew Dowling says it’s clear that the generation most affected by climate change is the one that currently can’t vote for the leaders who typically attend these summits: “Our campaign provided the opportunity, and the world’s youth seized it to make its voice heard at the Summit.”

The eight representatives, from the ages of 13 to 21, presented the video compiled from over 2500 auditions that GPY&R’s campaign solicited from across the world. Each of the representatives were chosen from the videos they submitted to the campaign.

Why Why Not Campaign Winners in New York


GPY&R Sydney’s Andrew Dowling, Lucielle Vardy, Bart Pawlak and David Joubert, supported by David Sharrod from Y&R New York developed the ‘Why? Why Not?’ campaign for the Climate Reality Project, which is chaired by former US Vice President Al Gore. The team developed the campaign in response to a brief seeking to give the world’s youth representation at the UN Climate Summit.

The campaign amplified into one of the world’s biggest ever climate marches, where the ‘Why?  Why Not?’ banner was carried among the 400,000 people who marched alongside Ban, Gore and English primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace, Dame Jane Morris Goodall.

Climate March in New York 600wUnder the direction of WPP group planning director Jon Steel and worldwide creative director John O’Keefe, the campaign was a multidisciplinary effort, implemented by eight WPP agencies and affiliates from different geographies and disciplines (strategic planning, advertising, media investment management, digital communications, public relations and public affairs and youth marketing) supporting the launch and rollout of the campaign.

The agencies involved are GPY&R Sydney, JWT, Maxus, The Futures Company, PPR, The Glover Park Group, Blue State Digital, and affiliate company VICE.

The campaign will continue to build momentum leading up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris in December 2015, with the aim of creating overwhelming public support for a global agreement on greenhouse gas reductions and climate action.

Steel says it’s a “privilege” to be able to apply communications skills to solving a problem of such magnitude: “I always relish the intellectual challenge of creating a campaign, but this time it’s very personal. Climate change will affect all of us, if it’s not doing so already.”

The creative was originally focused on eight countries – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Philippines, South Africa, and the USA – but grew into a global project spanning 87 countries.


Peter Roper

Editor of Marketing and Marketing Mag from 2013 to 2017. Tweets as @pete_arrr.

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