WASHINGTON DC: Following his barnstorming appearance at this year's Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, eco-warrior Al Gore is stepping-up his campaign to to get adland onside by launching a TV commercials contest in the US.

The former US vice-president and presidential candidate - sponsoring the competition via his Alliance for Climate Protection group - hopes the winning TV and web ads will galvanise the globe into demanding swifter action on the alleged damage done by greenhouse gases.

Gore has invited ad agencies to submit 'ecospots' explaining global warming and urging action at local or national level.

The contest is also open to individuals who, it is hoped, may prove even more effective with their user generated content posted on websites such as YouTube and MySpace.

Comments Greg Stern, ceo of California agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners: "Tapping into the passion on this topic is brilliant. The idea of turning to consumers to spread the word is very smart. It might even preclude the need for an ad agency."

Entries, due by September 12, will be judged by a panel of activists, scientists and environmentally aware celebrities, while the winner will receive a SUV hybrid vehicle of the non-gas guzzling kind.

The ads will be aired this fall, either as public service announcements during time donated by TV stations or as paid spots on commercial and cable TV.

Gore plans to raise millions of dollars to fund the media campaign, saying: "It is designed to move the United States and the rest of the world past a tipping point beyond which a majority of political, business and civic leaders compete to offer genuinely effective solutions to the climate crisis."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff