Nancy Buzby | April 16, 2014
…and the Terminator, and Indiana Jones, and a Titanically popular director and more. If you don’t get where I’m going with this thread, you may have been under a rock for the past week, because when Hollywood talks about climate change, all kinds of new audiences listen.
Years of Living Dangerously is an incredibly ambitious documentary on climate change airing on Showtime. It is also a fascinating case study in how to market a scary, complicated concept to mass audiences and stimulate new conversations across both virtual and physical communities.
Al Gore, with 2.71m followers, is no slouch in social media – I’m just illustrating that perhaps Mr. Somerhalder has a bit more active fan base.
There are many different ways to tell a story and start a conversation. At EDF we focus on science, economics, partnerships and bipartisan outreach to find solutions to climate change. Our stories stem from the results we drive, and yes, we love talking about science and statistics.
The teams behind both the making and the marketing of the YEARS documentary are focusing on the human element. The series uses celebrities as the lens to educate the audience through human stories and simple language. They find the real value in communicating climate change at an emotional level.
There’s also a human component in experiencing the documentary. There's no need to watch YEARS alone from your couch. The YEARS team is promoting human interaction: from social sharing through millions of celebrity followers, to spurring community action, to providing tools to host your own “viewing party” and find groups to watch with in your neighborhood.
In order to get climate change into the mainstream conversation, we need to lean on people who have high visibility in the mainstream. The bold names extending their environmental passion to this documentary include: Jessica Alba, Matt Damon, Michael C. Hall, Don Cheadle, Olivia Munn, America Ferrera, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lesley Stahl, Thomas Friedman, Harrison Ford, Ian Somerhalder and Chris Hayes.
Because EDF is chock full of scientists and economists, I’d be shunned in the break room if I didn’t provide you with some statistics:
Take over 16 million followers x thousands of tweets, favorites and shares, and YEARS just gathered a massive mainstream audience around an important issue.
At EDF, we are especially proud to be featured in the Years of Living Dangerously documentary. Our flagship fellowship program, EDF Climate Corps, is featured in the May 26th episode, as Jessica Alba follows three of our Climate Corps fellows through their summer internships working with Caesars, Office Depot and Texas Southern University to help those organizations find energy efficiencies and become more sustainable.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing you to our Climate Corps fellows and the important work they do every year in hundreds of organizations. And yes, we’ll also be inserting ourselves into the mainstream conversation, so please feel free to tweet and share (#YEARSProject, @EDFBiz). Especially if you’re Jessica Alba ...
How YEARS came to EDF’s Eric Pooley with a great idea - http://bit.ly/1g3ujPm