Do These Videos Make the Point?

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

We’ve created some 30-second spots on the importance of passing climate change legislation, and we’d like your feedback on them.

The "American Voices" videos, which will run on, feature regular Americans talking about how climate change affects them personally:

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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The "Real Costs" videos focus on the economic costs of doing nothing, of failing to address climate change. Here are links to these ads, which are running in 45 districts right now:

Real Costs – Political instability, high oil prices (YouTube)
Real Costs – Agricultural decline, infrastructure damage (YouTube)

What do you think? Are they compelling, effective? Which group gets the point across better – "American Voices" or "Real Costs"?

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  1. quentinp
    Posted May 13, 2008 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    “Real costs” has “been removed by the user”, it says.

    I think real voices is a nice idea, but it’s weak – there isn’t much education – what ARE the impacts on the planet that he values, and her kids? Many don’t know, and the fact that these nice people feel concerned doesn’t really move me if I don’t know what they are concerned about.

    I think closing the circle by saying that this is ALSO an economic priority removes every last possible opposition.

    Every last opposition, that is, unless you work for Exxon Mobil (remember to boycott both brands) or a coal company and somehow feel guilty and therefore want to deny everything. Of course if you work at a coal company there is no need to feel guilty, unless you actually ARE denying everything and holding up the rest of us who are trying to get things done. I expect that even coal workers will be made OK while we fix the planet – so join us in making responsible legislation.


  2. Posted May 13, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I just updated the links for the Real Costs ads. They put up a new version. Sorry about that. You were posting while I was updating.

    That’s an interesting point that the American Voices ads don’t inform about the problem itself. I guess they figured that people know the danger at this point? When I watched them, what struck me was they made the point that global warming affects people personally – it’s not some esoteric thing that doesn’t really impact your life.

    The Real Voices videos are the opposite – lots of facts. I’m curious to hear what you think of them.

  3. Posted May 14, 2008 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I suggest emphasizing the “local” component of global warming. People care more about the local softball field than thousands washed away in Bangladesh. [[advertising link removed]]

  4. quentinp
    Posted May 14, 2008 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I like the real costs videos (the top one a tiny bit more than the bottom one). It completes the GW argument – we know that tree huggers like me fret about endangered species, we know that some poor people on the other side of the planet might have a hard time. But if we don’t care about either of those then the making economic point that the most expensive thing is NOT acting removes all possible opposition as far as I can see.

    Thanks for all you do.


  5. Posted May 15, 2008 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Hi Quentin,

    I like the Real Costs videos because they make a point that is missed by many people – that doing nothing is actually the more expensive course of action. We’ve posted quite a bit about this – many studies back this up – but still somehow it’s missed in the national discussion.

  6. Posted May 15, 2008 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Here’s another comment that someone sent in email:


    The “Average Mom” is very vague on possible consequences, but if she thinks 5 kids can wind up richer than two parents after peak oil, she better be talking about community, not the stuff we see around her. I dunno – maybe it is a valid airhead-to-airhead opinion spreader – I don’t watch TV.

  7. moneeek
    Posted May 20, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    The “American Voices” pieces feel too vague mainly because those that are being targeted to take action likely believe the issue is still a non-issue and hearing someone else tell them they need to take action won’t change their minds.

    I like the “Political Instability, high oil prices” piece because it has some substance and offers some facts that may actually help to educate the “resistance”. Like another person commented I think it’s great to point to the negative impact of non-action.

    That said, I think running both pieces makes sure to address the personal impact as well as to give good facts.

  8. Posted May 20, 2008 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the feedback.

    We’ve got more – just came out. I’ll post them later this week.

  9. Posted May 22, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    I like the Faces of Climate Change and the Real Cost ads. They grab my attention better than the other ones. The barrel one makes me think too much about “how’d they do that?” The average mom one is too opinionated. An average mom with 5 kids and a wonderful home doesn’t sound to me like your average mom. It sounds more like a privileged mom with a big fat diamond ring on her finger to boot. The Faces video is enlightening, or at least it would be to many people. The Cost video makes me stop and listen because it’s well produced and looks like it’s sending an important message. The Faces video would be my first choice.

  10. Posted May 23, 2008 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the feedback. You saw the “grounded” ad already? (That’s the one with the barrel.) I thought that one was really intense. We’ll post a link to that next week.

    I’m actually on vacation after today – I’ll be offline for a week or so. I put together next week’s posts in advance.