Light where the sun doesn’t shine

It’s not a new ad, but Greenpeace’s sunshine clip (above) was recently forwarded around the Incite office refueling the debate around sustainability messaging we had last year following the launch of 10:10’s “No Pressure” viral. See that commentary here.

For some people ‘the light went out’ with Greenpeace’s cheeky energy saving viral. While others felt it was a refreshing change from NGOs’ traditionally earnest way of communicating and that the clip would appeal to newer and younger audiences.

What do you think? Is the viral too frivolous and absurd or it is fun way of delivering an important message by a well established environmental campaigning organisation?

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5 Responses to Light where the sun doesn’t shine

  1. Mark says:

    Futerra, who specialise in communicating sustainability and do it very, very well, have written extensively on this. They argue that communication must be upbeat, preferably hip, and take cognisance of Marshall McLuhan edict: “The medium is the message.” So, earnest, print, lecture, academic-like communication, and those that portray the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it simply don’t work because it isn’t how people communicate today.

  2. georginacombes says:

    Hi Mark, thanks for your comment. I am in the latter camp in total agreement with you – I used to work for Futerra in London!

  3. Not that I necessarily disagree, but what’s the evidence for the effectiveness of the Futerra approach?

  4. georginacombes says:

    Hi David, thanks for your comment.
    Futerra advocates using behaviour change theories in sustainability communications as do many others – see this recent article from The Guardian
    With positive, upbeat, aspirational, solution-focused communications, Futerra, Greenpeace in this advert and other campaigns like Global Cool ( are appealing to people who are motivated by what’s cool, high status and what their peers are doing. They are not communicating to committed environmentalists who have already changed their lightbulbs.

  5. But aren’t aspirational, status-seeking patterns part of the problem, Georgina? Are you familiar with The Spirit Level, the Pickett-Wilkinson book about inequality, and their analysis of how status-seeking fuels over-consumption and inequality? I’m not saying the Futerra approach is necessarily wrong – haven’t jumped to that conclusion – just wondering how it deals with those dynamics, and what evidence there is for it working.

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