Close-Up: Giving the UN's Climate Justice a sense of time

The Euro RSCG Worldwide CEO, David Jones, reveals the thinking behind the 'tck tck tck' campaign for Climate Change.

I've always held the view that what our industry excels at is using its creativity to change people's behaviour.

On a day-to-day basis we use those skills effectively to convince people to buy product A, rather than product B, or to trade up to new product C.

Today, I believe that we in the creative industries not only have an opportunity, but an obligation, to use that talent to change people's behaviour around some of the bigger issues facing the world.

So when Kofi Annan asked Havas Worldwide to work pro bono for his campaign for Climate Justice, we didn't hesitate. Global warming is clearly the biggest issue facing the planet, and Annan is engaged in the plight of those who have contributed least to the problem but who are suffering the most.

We launched the campaign at the 56th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival alongside Annan and Bob Geldof.

The idea was simple. We wanted it to be a movement rather than a campaign, but with a deadline - December, when the United Nations will hold its climate conference in Copenhagen.

Euro RSCG London put movement and deadline together and came up with the digital "tck tck tck" campaign.

The goal is to put pressure on the world's political leaders to deliver a binding, just and global agreement in Copenhagen.

The most important element of the campaign, and which I believe is the key to all modern campaigns, is that it is open to third parties. We didn't want a campaign that we controlled and owned. We wanted it to become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would interact with and exploit.

Last week the British government officially supported the campaign and asked the country's top 100 businesses and media personalities to give it their backing.

Peter Mandelson said: "The 'tck tck tck' campaign is an excellent catalyst for galvanising support from the sector and leading the way towards a low-carbon economy."

That's just one example of the success that the campaign has had. The combined total of 'tck tck tck' actions - the official website acts as an online petition - has reached more than one million, and the movement has been taken up around the world, from Oxfam's stunts in Central Park to Young & Rubicam in Brazil producing a great TV ad. And the international TV and press coverage has been remarkable.

The list of partner companies already on board includes Virgin Radio, Yahoo! Music, iTunes, Google, Pernod Ricard, EDF, Microsoft Zune, YouTube, USA Today, HSBC, Marks & Spencer, Uniqlo, Lloyds TSB, MySpace and MTV.

And there are many more with whom we are having promising conversations.

We have also released a song to promote the campaign (see box), which was launched in Paris earlier this month with the help of Annan and the French movie star Melanie Laurent.

Everyone reading this article can help. At the very least, download the track and go off and create some magic using "tck".

The global economic crisis has clearly brought with it a lot of angst and suffering, but one positive outcome will be an acceleration of the movement towards more socially responsible business. And I believe our industry can use its brilliant creativity to play a leading role in this important movement.

- David Jones is the chief executive of Euro RSCG Worldwide.

HOW BEDS ARE BURNING WAS MADE

Fabien Moreau, Marketing director of the music production company The Hours

This adventure started back in May. David Jones, the Euro RSCG Worldwide chief executive, called to speak with me and my two business partners, Alex Sap and Leslie Dubest, about recording a song for Climate Justice.

Leslie, our creative director, suggested that we could record a song that conveys a message, through a collaboration of artists and celebrities, and launch it a few months before the UN's meeting in Copenhagen. The song, a free download, could serve as a massive "musical petition", where every download would be registered as a symbol of support.

Considering artists' time, we thought the best way to go was a cover version. After David rejected several suggested tracks, Leslie brought forward Midnight Oil's 1987 hit Beds Are Burning. The original song was about Aboriginal land rights in Australia, so the lyrics needed to be tweaked, but everyone involved decided it was a perfect fit.

We got in touch with Midnight Oil, who were supportive of the cause and agreed to rewrite the lyrics and grant us rights to the song.

We gathered talented producers, sound engineers and musical directors - big names such as Manu Katche, Neil Dorfsman and Michael Stevens - in New York City at the famed Electric Lady Studios to record the instrumental track.

We were able to get a first group of artists to lend their voices as well, including the actresses Marion Cotillard and Milla Jovovich, and the musicians Will Lee and Serena Ryder. It took us one week in the studio to record a rough version of the track. With this and a few voices on tape, we had ammo to call on more artists to join the project.

We decided to ask artists around the world to download the track, record their audio and video in a local studio and send us the content digitally. The tracks began to flow in - from Duran Duran and the Scorpions to Mark Ronson and Jamie Cullum - and our friends at Rive-K Studios in Paris took on the daunting task of the audio mix.

We collected more than 250 tracks. Putting to use the best pieces from each artist and making the whole thing sound coherent was a huge undertaking.

As the song reached completion, we focused on the music video that would showcase the talent and get the message across visually. We wanted to work with Corinne and Axel from Chic & Artistic - we were convinced they were perfect for this. We picked up the phone and asked them if they were willing to dedicate the next six weeks to the project, and they agreed. They took hours and hours of content, put it into their machines, added their genius into the mix, and delivered a music video that is amazing.

Our goal? To get this song and music video downloaded by as many people in the world as possible, before Copenhagen - giving Kofi Annan extraordinary support and evidence that the world backs Climate Justice and our leaders must take action.

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