Mother, London have created an ad to "Bring the aviation industry back down to earth", and a site to go with it at planestupid.com. The ad shows polar bears falling from the sky in a skyscraper filled city, hitting buildings on the way down and crashing into large gas-guzzling chevy's on the street. Subtle. More than one person I've talked to over in the US immediately made the association with the falling man and the jumpers of WTC, due to the shots of falling corpses reflecting on skyscrapers carrying a strong visual similarity. The advert is only aired in UK cinema and online.
The website wants you to support them, and your donations could go to buy them superglue, bolt croppers, d-locks and other items used to stage interventions at airports, disrupting flight traffic in effort to have their message heard.
Ed Gillespie at the Media Guardian doubts that the ad will work as intended:
But maybe the ad works by ramming home this link between high-carbon short haul flights and the fate of the Arctic? Certainly it's controversial imagery will garner press interest, after all I'm writing this analytical blog for starters, and for campaigning organisations with limited budgets and only one bite at the media cherry this is crucial. However I'm still not sure it will change behaviour, the danger is that by pumping up the high octane drama of an ad, you increase the risk of viewers feeling manipulated and dismissing it as pure propaganda. Or lapsing into highly questionable failures of tact and taste in pursuit of 'edginess'.
He was aboslutly right that the ad would spread, as even the US Huffington Post has posted the ad now, so the UK ad has reached the US market. Since the ad launched last months, there's been 210,282 blog reactions to the ad, a majority just agog after watching it. MEP Godfrey Bloom plane rubbish and told Campaign that he'll complain about the ad:
But MEP Godfrey Bloom has already told the Daily Telegraph that he intends to complain about the ad to the Advertising Standards Authority.
He said: "This is a graphic and hysterical advert which will cause unnecessary distress and alarm."
The paper also reported comments by climate change sceptic Lord Monckton of Brenchley, who called the ad "a fraudulent piece of scaremongering".
Ugh, the sound they make sends shivers down my spine.
If Monty Python had used polar bears, it might have been even funnier. If planestupid had used cows, it might have been even more stupid.