The UK Government has raised the temperature with “Bedtime Story”, their climate change TV advert featuring a drowning puppy and rabbits dying of thirst. The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK is responding to 375 complaints about the impact of the commercial on young children and may recommend that the ad be shown after 9 pm only. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) launched the commercial as part of its Act on CO2 campaign.
The campaign, in the form of a bedtime story, begins with a father reading to his daughter but turns into a terrifying account of the impact of climate change. We’re shown animated cartoons featuring a puppy drowning in floods, a kitten floating on an upturned table and a rabbit weeping as drought decimates its habitat. The father explains that scientists say the strange weather was being caused by too much CO2, which went up into the sky when grown ups used energy. He says that some places could even disappear under the sea, adding that children would have to live with the horrible consequences. He tells the girl that adults had discovered 40 per cent of the CO2 was coming from everyday things like driving cars or keeping houses warm. If adults made less CO2 maybe they could save the land for the children. The girl’s question, “Is there a happy ending?” is answered by a female voiceover saying, “It’s up to us how the story ends. See what you can do.”
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
A web site, “Change How The Story Ends“, provides opportunity for follow up.
Complaints about the commercial suggested that the material was not only distressing for children but also had entered into a the realm of scaremongering, inaccurate science and political propaganda. Others have also complained that the advert which is part of a £6million campaign had presented human caused climate change as fact and challenged the statistics used.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) launched the commercial as part of its Act on CO2 campaign. The government department’s campaign is a response to research by YouGov that suggests that more than half of the UK public think climate change will have no impact on them. Only 1 in 5 (18%) of the 1039 respondents thought that climate change will take effect during their children’s lifetime. 74% of people said they would take immediate action to change their lifestyle now if they knew that climate change would affect their children’s lives.
The Bedtime Story ad and the Act on CO2 campaign were developed at AMV BBDO, London.