29 Disturbingly Creative Ads for the Environment

While there are mountains and mountains of scientific research and literature on human beings’ impact on our planet, in terms of resource exhaustion, pollution, global warming, deforestation and habitat destruction, and animal cruelty and rights abuse, most people manage to largely ignore it. Creatively constructed print and television advertisements however, are more captivating and tend to affect a lot more people. Here is a collection of 29 such disturbingly creative advertisements from 5 different organizations trying to spread awareness and make a change – guerrilla style marketing for social justice and humanitarian causes.

They Weren’t Born to be Worn

For over 70 years now SAFE has been the voice for all animals, helping expose animal cruelty and abuse as well as fighting against animal testing across the world. The organization mainly uses public awareness campaigns (and advertisements) and political lobbying to expose and question the needless use of animals in cruel experiments and commercial exploitation. The ads above specifically target the latter, provoking questions about the use of animals as scarves, boots and other leather goods, and so on.

Stop the Chopping

2008 was a great year for WWF as well as forest conservation. The organization was able to convince over 60 governments to sign a pact to work towards zero net deforestation by the year 2020. They were able to protect over 1 million hectares of forests including tracts of land in the Amazon and Congo. The advertisements above address the issue of habitat loss due to deforestation which directly leads to endangerment and eventual extinction of species of animals.

Same Story, Different Ending

Greenpeace‘s ‘storytelling’ campaign targets parents and children and aims to spread awareness of increasingly important issues such as deforestation, oil spills, and irresponsible consumerism and pollution by depicting the consequences of our actions in various popular fairy tales. Imagine the future you’re creating for your children by the actions you take today. When they tell the same stories to your grandchildren, the little mermaid might not find her prince charming, the ugly duckling won’t have time to turn into a beautiful swan, and little red riding hood will be a sitting target for the big bad wolf. Though they use fiction to get the point across, this is not a story, this might be our future.

You Can Help. Stop Global Warming

Similar to the ‘stop deforestation’ campaign, the ‘stop global warming’ campaign also focuses on habitat loss but this time due to man-made global warming. The campaign, which reads ‘you can help, stop global warming’, urges people to prevent ecological imbalances by curbing irresponsible behavior such as keeping electronics like televisions, stereos, and computers running even when you’re not using them. The imagery used draws parallels between animals losing their homes (penguins, polar bears, and seals – some of the most at-risk) and human beings who lose their homes due to natural disasters, etc., and are forced to live on urban streets as homeless individuals.

Diesel – Global Warming Ready

Diesel’s campaign to spread awareness of global warming is stylish and provocative, a little absurd and perhaps even thought-provoking. The campaign focuses specifically on people and places, using popular tourist destinations (cities and landmarks) including Rio, London, New York, Paris, and so on, and shows what the places might look like if global warming goes unchecked. Though not scientifically accurate in terms of the actual impact that global warming would have on each location, the ads are nonetheless powerful in  their message. A desert surrounding the great wall, tropical gardens in Paris, London and New York submerged under water, and Macaws in Venice, how much worse could it get? While it is hard to take the Diesel campaign entirely seriously, it still packs quite a punch.

Money, Money, Money

What if you could help make the world a better place, from the comfort of your home, would you do it? That is the message of the ‘…a few coins campaign’. All it takes is a few coins from each of us to help endangered species, protect rain forests, save habitats of animals as well as humans (after all we all share this planet of ours). Simple and straightforward, the campaign doesn’t try to guilt-trip you, just asks politely for a few pennies. Will you spare some?

The Cost of Beauty and Vanity

Ever wondered what the true cost of cosmetic beauty is? It’s certainly not the $19.99 you pay as the retail price. Lavera’s (a 100% organic and cruelty-free skincare company) ads are meant to spread awareness of what the true price of their competitors products is, i.e., the animal cruelty side of things that these painstakingly hide from you using glossy advertisements and starved supermodels. The company is proving that you can look cosmetically beautiful without harming any animals in the process.

Is This Their Evolution?

Targeting China specifically (because of their complete disregard for animal rights) these WWF China ads use the concept of evolution to ask the question, is the evolution of animals supposed to lead to soup, or a coat, or ivory? The concept is subtle (in that most of the evolution is natural, with the exception of the last step) but powerful at the same time (in that the animal evolves into a ‘product’ in the final step).

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