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Purpose Disruptors to premier ‘Good Life 2030’ at COP26

‘Advertising A Good Life 2030’ explores the role of the marketing industry in pushing forward the sustainable agenda

Georgie Moreton

Assistant Editor, BITE

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COP26 is now well underway, with the global media spotlight affording the opportunity for meaningful action to push forward the sustainability agenda. The marketing industry has a huge role to play in helping push forward this positive agenda too and representing the industry at the event is Purpose Disrupters, who have been working on a new project, ‘Advertising A Good Life 2030’ to be unveiled at COP26 on 12th November. 

Selected to host the event out of a total 4,000 entries, which all sought the opportunity to speak at COP, the Purpose Disrupters session is one of only two events at the entire conference relating to advertising. The event invites the advertising industry to create a compelling and desirable new way of life in 2030, inspired by visions from the UK public. 

The latest IPCC report declared the climate crisis a “code red for humanity” and made for difficult reading for many. The report showed that global carbon emissions must be halved by 2030 if we are to avoid a temperature rise above 1.5 degrees. However, Purpose Disruptors have identified that one of the biggest challenges the climate change movement faces is making 'sustainable living’ seem compelling and desirable to the majority of citizens, instead of seeming dull, over-technical or like a loss. 

“When most people in the UK are simply trying to survive the week rather than save the world and to be frank are fed up of being told to make do with less when life already feels full of sacrifices,” said Tim Whirledge: Head of Strategy, McCann Manchester.

The marketing industry can help tackle this challenge as it influences consumer habits and plays a crucial role in sustainable decision making. The industry is armed with a unique set of skills that mean advertisers have the power to inspire and communicate behavioural change.

We know that people in our industry are the architects of desire, we create meaning in the world

Lisa Merrick-Lawless, Co-Founder of Purpose Disruptors

“We know that people in our industry are the architects of desire, we create meaning in the world.” explained Lisa Merrick-Lawless, Co-Founder of Purpose Disruptors, “We want this project to create a desire for a Good Life in 2030, inspired by what citizens in the UK really want.”

By working with the UK public, Purpose Disruptors have attempted to create a vision of 2030 and the role that advertising has to play in the future. Through a research project, Purpose Disruptors used segmentation and from the landmark study by Climate Outreach, ‘Britain Talks Climate’, the deep qualitative research focuses on three segments that make up 42% UK citizens, whose values ‘aren’t typically reflected in conventional sustainability narratives’. Findings from the research were crafted into a new report, ‘Good Life 2030: Citizen Report’ 

Despite interviewing those people from a diverse cross-section of backgrounds, citizens shared strikingly similar visions of a Good Life in 2030, these optimistic visions include:

  1. Need for interconnection: citizens shared a remarkably consistent vision of what they see as a good life: one that moved from separateness to greater connectedness – with themselves, with others and with nature. 
  2. Need for clarity: although citizens’ experiences of the pandemic have been diverse, they agree that Covid-19 has clarified their understanding of what really matters and sharpened their vision for a good life in 2030. 
  3. Need for action: citizens report that the pandemic has already encouraged them to actively bring their Good Life into view: from rethinking friendships to leaving toxic work environments. People have commonly realised that both time and health cannot be bought, but must be invested in, and people are increasingly taking new steps to look after their wellbeing and foster their personal relationships. 
  4. Need for being, not buying: citizens’ good life visions are notable for what they do not include – more things, more stuff, material accomplishments, status and outward success. It's not about having the next, the latest.  It's rarely about climbing the career ladder.  But it's about finding ways to establish lifestyles and enjoy experiences that bring peaceful satisfaction.

With these audience insights, Purpose Disrupters asked strategist Ally Kingston to write a brief for creating ‘Good Life 2030’ using the year 2030 as the client. The challenge to creatives was to ‘show how A Good Life in 2030 is more of what you love (and less of what you don’t)’ to show that the right advertising can make a sustainable life look as appealing as it should be.

“Used wisely, advertising has the ability to influence people’s decisions and change their behaviour; the ability to shape culture and improve lives.” said Xavier Rees, CEO at Havas London & Havas CX helia, “We have a powerful tool in our hands and now is the time to use it – to help make sustainable products, services and behaviours are more desirable than the alternative”. 

A series of top agencies were invited to share ideas for this brief and Iris, McCann Manchester and Gravity Road were the ones eventually chosen by Purpose Disruptors to create the ads. The three ‘adverts for 2030’ will be premiered at COP26 at ‘Advertising A Good Life In 2030’ on 12th November, 10-11am, at the IMAX in Glasgow’s Science Centre and will be available to live stream on the Cop26 YouTube channel. 

Alongside the ads there is also a short documentary film created by The Big Sky, to be aired at the event showing the making of the adverts and the reflections of those involved in the project. The 20-minute film aims to depict what the future holds for advertising execs in the industry in response to the visions of UK citizens. Leaders starring in the documentary include;  

  • Xavier Rees, CEO at Havas London & Havas CX helia
  • Ben Essen, Chief Strategy Officer at Iris
  • Caroline Davison, MD & Sustainability Lead at Elvis
  • Omar El-Gammal, Strategy Director at Mother
  • Pauline Robson, Managing Partner at Mediacom
  • Rosie Kitson, Joint Head of Strategy at Mindshare
  • Tom Firth, MD at M&C Saatchi

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