Marketers need a clear message on the environment

Chris Powell
BMP DDB and NESTA

A sure way to get no action is to give masses of contradictory advice. That's what a welter of well-meaning greenish organisations seem to be doing, often with quite substantial budgets to enable them to do it. Climate change communications is a mess of conflicting messages. Are we to stop travelling (except by donkey, horse or foot), to turn off our TVs when we go to bed, hope that science captures carbon before it leaves the power stations, recycle our bottles in Tesco's car park, eat only organic vegetables, trade carbon with our neighbour, lag the loft, blame George W Bush, doubt the science and not worry, or put a Cameroonian wind turbine on the roof and sell electricity back to the grid? Or all of these?

To make matters worse, some of the advice is amateurish and unintelligible. There was quite a heavyweight campaign late last year around the theme that any six year old could do it, featuring, unsurprisingly, a lot of six year olds who went on to be photographed in Downing Street. The only thing I got out of this was the clear message that I was more stupid than the average six year old and, while that may be true, it was difficult to see how that piece of abuse would advance the cause.