Always one to drum up some kind of controversy, last June, PETA launched ads promoting veganism featuring the grand daughter of Che Guevara. Lydia Guevara (above) is featured in the ads wearing bandoliers of carrots and holding up a closed fist. It is PETA’s first ad promoting vegetarian ideas in South America.
(above), China combated a national waste water issue with a series of surprising billboards. The Green Family Youth Association of Environmental Protection placed the billboards at runoff sites to raise awareness over the amount of raw sewage being dumped into rivers and streams. The campaign was named “ Best, Most Smart Ass Ads” by Earthfirst.
For something entirely more depressing, the Environmental Defense Fund launched a television ad with a new twist on the old “save the polar bears” shtick.
The World Wildlife Foundation sells a towel dispenser that illustrates deforestation in South America and a billboard that
uses an awning, (above), to create the effect of rising water. They also show us a shocking and sad illustration of the logging industry and remind us not to drive too much.
In Columbia, environmental ad campaigns targeted those using air conditioners by plastering this billboard over a building, (above). The text reads “El aire que enfria tu hogar, caliente el mundo” which means “The air that cools your home heats up the world.”
In Britain, Green Peace jumped into shocking tv commercials as well, producing these cheeky ads that say “Until the sun shines out of your ass, use an energy-efficient lightbulb instead.”
Even clothing companies like Diesel are jumping onto the eco-conscious ad bandwagon.
Dress in Diesel and you’ll be ready for parrots in Venice, a desert at the Great Wall of China and New York City underwater, (3 ads just above).
In Denver, the summer water shortage, (August 2009), had the city’s ads, (2 just above), reminding its citizens to conserve water when maintaining their grass.
What can we learn from these depressing, humorous, shocking or downright silly ads? First, that there is money in being green. Diesel’s primary concern is not to stop global warming, it’s to sell clothes. Don’t be fooled by companies who claim to be “green,” force them to back it up. Second, we’ve become desensitized to the usual advertising about sustainability issues. It’s no longer effective to tell us “hey, this is a problem and we need to do something about it.” Instead, to get a response, advertisers have to shock us.
As educated consumers you can choose to support any of these campaigns, but the most important thing you can choose to do is educate those who still aren’t engaged. The people who haven’t yet been sold on the need to reduce, reuse, recycle. Sometimes it takes real people to get those community members involved. Real people like you!