Agencies urge creative industry to fight for environmental progress post-lockdown

Campaign calls on advertisers and marketers to use creativity to promote sustainable living as lockdowns ease around the world.

A group of UK agencies have launched an initiative calling on the creative industry to promote and continue the environmentally beneficial behaviours that occurred during lockdown. 

The Great Reset is a follow-up to last year’s Create and Strike, a competition held by ad industry network Purpose Disruptors, which urged creatives to amplify the message of the climate crisis.

Representatives from Iris, Wieden & Kennedy, McCann, Gravity Road and Thinkhouse have created a campaign urging people to embrace a "new normal" of sustainable living and continue the progress made in tackling climate change. 

Since lockdowns were imposed around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, global carbon emissions are set to fall by up to 7%, environmental researchers reported last month. This is the same annual reduction required to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, according to the United Nations. 

Now, as lockdowns ease and economies reopen, a poll conducted by OnePulse found that only 23% of the population believes post-lockdown advertising should encourage people to consume, shop and fly as they did before. Meanwhile, 77% of respondents said they think it is the creative industry's responsibility to encourage people to behave more sustainably. 

The Great Reset aims to harness this sentiment and inspire the advertising, marketing and media sectors to rethink their practices for the betterment of the planet. A launch film and website, created and produced by Iris, acts as a call to arms for the industry to use its creative power to help change how people live. 

People can pledge support by donating free media space or offering their time to respond to The Great Reset’s creative briefs and amplify the campaign. 

As part of the initiative, Purpose Disruptors will hold virtual gatherings daily from 8 to 16 July to facilitate learning and collaboration among participants. The Great Reset’s website will host educational and creative resources, including a white paper written by strategists at Gravity Road and Thinkhouse.  

D&AD is supporting the initiative and integrating it into its New Blood programme.

Ben Essen, chief strategy officer at Iris, said: "The launch film is a reminder that our industry creates a lot more than just nice films – we create mass behaviours, many of which are unsustainable. When eight out of 10 people are telling us to take responsibility for the behaviours we encourage, is it time for us to assess the true impact of our creativity?"