Anyone who works in environmental communications knows that the environment can sometimes be a tough sell.
Fancy some seafood with a side serving of guilt over dwindling fish stocks?
How about driving to work with a sense of creeping anxiety about carbon emissions from petrol?
Or maybe you’d like a cup of coffee complete with pesticides, food miles, and unfair agricultural policies in developing nations?
Many solutions have been proposed to this. Try to avoid giving people a sense of powerlessness, give them a clear action to take, share good news when you have it.
But is it enough? With climate change now an inevitable reality and examples of extreme weather events proliferating , can we really afford to keep sugar coating the message?
In her book Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein talks about ‘crisis capitalism’ - the idea that big entrenched interests use times of crisis to push through otherwise unpalatable changes to laws and societal norms, to the detriment of people and the environment.
Maybe it’s time for us to do the same thing. Maybe we need to start using our marketing knowledge to link serious, newsworthy environmental catastrophes to the environmental factors behind them.
So we can have a mega storm brought to you by Dangerous Climate ChangeTM. Or a Pacific Gyre full of plastic rubbish brought to you by OverconsumptionTM.
Imagine if these bad guys had their own logos, taglines and huge advertising spend to back them up. Maybe that way, we could take advantage of the negative publicity and 'shock to the system' of these adverse events to actually link them with their real, scientifically proven causes.