Who can resist Darth Vader frolicking through a flowery meadow? Ads that aim to focus public attention on environmental problems can be tricky, but some creative thinkers have discovered brilliant ways to get their causes noticed. Others just leave us scratching our heads, wondering about the point, or even provoke outrage with controversial imagery like violently blowing up kids who don’t care about the planet. These 15 notable ads run the gamut, from poignant to bizarre.
For Once, the Dark Side Saves the PlanetDarth Vader – er, make that ‘Fladder’ – frolics through a flowery meadow in his summer outfit of cropped tights and white socks in this WWF ad for Earth Hour, which crows that ‘For once, the dark side saves the planet.’ WWF was asking the public to ‘join the forces of darkness’ and shut off the lights for one hour.
Bianco Footwear: Please Stop Global Warming
Just look at how sad all of these ladies are. If we don’t stop global warming, all of their lovely footwear by Bianco will be ruined, and that would be such a tragedy. (Is that what they’re trying to say here?)
Ocean Levels Are Rising Faster Than EverThroughout the day, the waves on this WWF billboard get higher and higher thanks to the sun’s progress in the sky and the wave-shaped awning that casts a shadow on the ad.
Before It’s Too LateIf trees are the lungs of the world, what will happen if they disappear altogether? This ad, again by WWF, illustrates that question with a poignant image of lung-shaped forest that has already fallen victim to logging.
Think About What It ConsumesIs your washing machine a total glutton? “Think about what it consumes before buying”, urges the Belgian federal climate change section in this humorous ad that illustrates the unseen impact of appliances on household energy usage.
Save Water, Pee in the Shower
An environmental group gave some very personal (and some would say gross) advice to Brazilians with this video: save water, pee in the shower! Everyone from a basketball player to an alien is depicted doing just that in this weird little video. The group says that for each household that flushes the toilet just one less time than usual every day, 1,157 gallons of water could be saved.
Be the Root“Be the root. Nature in the city begins with all of us,” says this Canadian ad for Evergreen, an organization that seeks to make cities more livable with with lots of trees and green space. “The harder we try, the more it will thrive. We need your help.”
The Air That Cools Your Home Heats Up the World
Sometimes it can be hard to grasp in any real way how our everyday lives affect the world at large. This ad, depicting a father and son in the throes of a climate change-induced flood, is punctuated by air conditioning units exactly like the real ones sticking out of the building it’s mounted on. The ad states “The air that cools your home, heats up the world.”
Don’t Buy Exotic Animal Souvenirs
If you come home from Africa with a pretty ivory hair comb, or from the Caribbean with a real coral necklace, you’ve got blood on your hands – and in your suitcase. This WWF ad by Poland’s LOWE GGK agency really gets that message across.
The Greatest Wonder of the SeaLike a school of fish, a stream of trash flows through the water under the sea in this ad by Greenpeace which proclaims, “the greatest wonder of the sea is that it’s still alive.”
Disposable Is Just Another World For GarbageZippo makes a good point with this creative ad: “Disposable. Just another word for garbage.” With so few words, it effectively pleads the case that a lighter that’s guaranteed for life is is far more environmentally friendly than all of the disposable lighters that end up in landfills around the world.
Coffin ads can be tricky, even for specialty companies that cater to an audience that may be more open to seeing such reminders of death on the street or in their favorite magazines. EcoFunerals gets the message across about the benefits of their coffins without being in-your-face.
Our Planet is Losing Patienc
MTV made a dramatic statement with a series of ads that aimed to get youth fired up about global warming, depicting nature as an angry fist pummeling man-made structures in the form of tsunamis, tornados and forest fires. The ads read, respectively, “Since 1970 the number of natural catastrophes has quadrupled.” “Since 1960 the number of forest fires has increased tenfold.”
10:10 – No Pressure
Some might say that the 10:10 “No Pressure” ad was a resounding success, because it got so much media attention. Others – perhaps those who got it temporarily removed from YouTube – say it’s a grotesque example of shoving environmentalism down people’s throats. Whatever your opinion, blowing up schoolchildren is clearly one way to get noticed.