Want to promote your next book? Try gut-wrenching fear.
Author Eli Kintisch is about to release Hack the Planet, which proposes that our human desire to control things could get us into trouble as we try to solve big problems. Take global warming: Sure, you may not buy it if you watch Fox News, but imagine what would happen if a rogue nation decided to try and fix the atmosphere by flying a few planes around seeding chemicals for geoengineering … and got the formula wrong? Kintisch is promoting his upcoming missive with a blog and juicy interactive Earth Emergency Procedures Safety Card, you know, if the planet melts, please head for the nearest exit.
This is really not news. Our Planet Earth, a strapping young adult about 4 billion years through our sun’s 10 billion-year lifespan, has gone through five major extinction events in which almost all life died. Yup; not only the dinosaurs, they were just the last to get hit. Today, scientists warn we could be approaching another extinction whack — not just a random asteroid (like the one that punched a 180-kilometer crater in the Yucatan Peninsula) or global warming, but massive methane leaks from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, nuclear holocaust (we’re still pointing bombs at each other), robotic advances that might replace people, or nanotechnology that if unleashed without care could turn our planet into mush.
Good promotion. Sweet dreams.
Ever wonder if Obama or McCain would be better at selling your product?
In 2008 it’s worth considering politics in your advertising strategy. For example, a recent Pew study found that there is a huge split among Americans who believe in global warming, right down party lines: 84% of Democrats think the planet is cooking vs. 74% of independents and 49% of Republicans.
We’re not saying who’s right or wrong (after all, what do 649,000 years of carbon dioxide-temperature correlations really tell you?). The point for marketers is your own product or service may create splits among party lines, especially if your brand is divisive among liberals and conservatives.
Do you sell oil? Energy? Meat? Automobiles? Education? Theater? Adjusting your ad media not only for demographics, but for political views within those demos and the geographic locations of the most receptive, may make sense.
Graph: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Big news on global warming this week. The Wilkins Ice Shelf, an area of floating ice about the size of Connecticut off the coast of Antarctica, has started to collapse. Block after block of ice is just tumbling and crumbling into the ocean, said Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The good news is Wilkins is only 1 of 19 ice shelves around the southern continent, so we still have 18 left. Um. Yeah. Whatever your politics, people are going to start noticing this stuff. Maybe it’s time to put more green in your corporate logo.
NPR gives us hope today that there is something we can do to save the planet from carbon-gloomed warming … eat more chocolate. Joao Tavares, the cocoa farmer above, has figured out how to grow chocolate under the canopy of old rain forests, making money while preserving giant trees that absorb carbon emissions.
With the U.N. issuing its most dire report on the Earth’s future Saturday, this week will be a case study in how different media and political outlets respond. The NY Times trumpeted the U.N. report in a headline Saturday. WSJ buries the news on A4 today under the obscure headline, “Setting New Carbon Standards,” but with an interesting take on a hard question, who will pay to clean up the planet? WSJ’s editorial board is silent on the issue, which we bet means they’re cranking away to unleash a real humdinger tomorrow. Greenpeace misses the boat, failing to update its web site or press releases and instead gives us old critiques on the whaling industry and Exxon. Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth blog shows the looming disaster of not keeping a blog current, pitching the DVD with an old post from September 15, 2006. Geez, Al, whatever our politics, aren’t you missing an opportunity here?
Whatever. Maybe sea levels really won’t rise 40 feet, because we’re going to eat more chocolate.
Republicans and Democrats, put down your spears and consider this: Today the U.N. panel on climate change released its most dire report on the impact of carbon emissions, predicting a 6 degree increase in average world temperatures by 2030. Al Gore in his Nobel Opus documentary claimed ocean levels might rise 20 feet; this report says 40, enough to drown 2037 Manhattan like 2005 New Orleans.
It doesn’t matter if this prediction is right or wrong, or if it affronts or validates your personal beliefs, or how clever the WSJ editorial board will be in its retort Monday morning. What you better believe is that marketers around the world are jumping on the green bandwagon as consumers begin to really worry about the future due to melting ice caps. Green messaging will be here to stay. We’ve written before about brilliant campaigns to rebrand companies, such as BP’s beyond petroleum mission. Global warming may make us slightly warmer or destroy the planet. We don’t know. But the idea of it is equivalent to disruptive technology. Marketers ignore this idea at their peril, because competitors are repositioning “green” as you pause.
There’s a bit of a stew in Britain over advertisements for new homes built by Morston Assets’ Yours South Lynn. Seems the home builder claimed its construction is more eco-friendly, and to make the point showed photos of starving children in deserts and polar bears slipping through cracking ice caused by global warming. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority investigated after consumers complained the ads were in horrid taste … but decided to let the ads run after all, deeming melting ice an issue factual enough to be used in ad communications.