The politics of passion can help you change the world

andrew grinterAl Gore’s passion about averting climate change should give every creative food for thought, argues Andrew Grinter.

In all honesty, my interest in politics doesn’t go much further than bunging on Netflix’s House of Cards. But like a fourth-wall-breaking Spacey monologue, when Al Gore explained complicated, sometimes politically charged subject matter, he held my attention.

At this year’s SXSW interactive festival, he used his enviro-celebrity status from An Inconvenient Truth to talk about the costs of carbon pollution and the challenges it presents.

Everyday we tackle problems. For brands these come in the form of – how can we sell that car? That new phone? That can of coke? Now replace those brands with the planet earth, and those single-minded propositions with the global climate crisis.

Gore speaking at SXSW

Gore speaking at SXSW

It’s ironic that these products we buy and sell play part in contributing to global pollution, but that’s beside the point. This isn’t a conscience fuelled rant, rather, what we can learn about creative problem solving from the efforts and ideas presented by the former VP.

Get perspective

Look at the world differently. I’m not trying to sound like an Apple commercial –but if we shift perspective it can help us understand the problem deeper, and see something we just couldn’t before.

It was only as Gore presented an image on the view of the ozone layer from side on, could I appreciate how thin and vulnerable it is, opposed to the massive expanse we see from street level.

Be bold

Take action. Be bold with your ideas. Don’t tiptoe around the point, say it, show it, visualise it in the most simple and evocative way possible.

The former VP used some massively alarming data to highlight the necessity for change, leading the charge for us to care about the planet and our own well being. Yes, there were numbers and graphs but mixed in was confronting footage of the resulting extreme weather events. Floods, mudslides, droughts and hurricanes; seemingly the world is ending, and we caused it.

Not an easy pill to swallow, but it’s these bold truths that capture people’s attention and spring them into action.

Don’t let those who deny you, stop you

The climate crisis has to be one of the most heavily debated environmental issues since people argued that the world was flat. Fuelled by politics and greenhouse gas, as Gore put it “there’s a denial industry in the USA.”

I feel that brands can benefit from being more self aware and focused on their core business problems. Too often is a marketing campaign used as a reaction or band-aid fix to a bigger problem that may exist within the business itself. It’s our job to find that problem, bring it to their attention and then solve it creatively.

Have hope

Hearing no is part of everyday life. We build up a thick skin to the swift, and at times unexpected death of beloved concepts. It’s our place here to see the opportunity to start again from the ashes, with the drive to come back with an even better idea than the original.

This same hope and positivity was evident as Gore described the current landscape of carbon reduction talks, “we’ve heard a lot of no’s, eventually there will come a yes”.

Looking forward to the 2015 climate change conference to be held in Paris, he confidently stated that we will get a yes in Paris. Or at least he hopes so.

Be passionate

It was abundantly clear that Al Gore is passionate about the climate crisis. But it was his ability to stir that same passion around the cause within members of the audience. The idea that renewable energy and the solutions to this massive problem rest with the many young people who occupied the seats in the exhibition hall.

“It requires passion from the people who can see how bright and hopeful the future can be.”

The same can be said when selling our ideas to clients. We have to be passionate about our own cause. We need to ignite the excitement within their minds and include them in the fight to help our concepts come to fruition that will ultimately benefit their brands.

The same way we are aware of our planet’s problems, we should consider the creative climate within our own agencies and the clients we solve problems for.

While not every brief is as heroic as saving the world from certain doom, let’s stir some hurricanes with the next brief that comes across our desks.

  • Andrew Grinter is a creative at DT Melbourne

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