No Home Is Safe in Wieden + Kennedy’s Intriguing, Interactive Climate Change Ad

Danish power company makes the case for green energy

It’s a familiar environmentalist argument—we all have to live on this planet, so we might not want to completely destroy it. But newly rebranded Danish power company Ørsted is taking up that mantle in a clever new interactive film from Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam to roll out its vision for a world run entirely on green energy.

The website invites users to describe what “home” means to them by filling in three fields with a series of predetermined words, in a sort of advertising mad lib. It offers metaphors and feelings ranging from the spiritual to the mundane—oasis, foundation, refuge, town, privacy, grateful, lonely, needed, musical, serene, safe, content, awesome, crowded, cool, exciting, paradise and maintained, among others.

Once that’s done, the film opens with a happy montage of people around the world enjoying their various abodes, as the voiceover coos the phrases a user has selected.

But before long, the soothing tone fades, as the voiceover begins to awkwardly repeat itself, and the footage grows more sinister. Scenes of happy families, puppy cuddles and peaceful living-room meditations give way to raging hurricanes and tornados, shellshocked residents wandering through flood wreckage, and wildfires blazing across forests.

Eventually, the frame cuts to a view of Planet Earth from outer space. “Our home is at risk,” says the voiceover. “Today, over 80 percent of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels.”

“But there’s hope,” it continues, over pictures of gentle oceans, solar panels and wind farms. “For the first time in history, green energy is cheaper than black.”

See the trailer for the interactive film here:

Ørsted has been working to transform itself from a power provider based on burning fossil fuels to one based on building and running offshore wind farms. It has reduced its use of coal, for example, by 73 percent since 2006, and plans to abandon it altogether by 2023—the same year it expects to have cut its carbon emissions by 96 percent.

It sold its oil and gas holdings this fall. And just last month, it changed its name—leaving behind its previous life as Dong Energy—to mark the shift.

Overall, the idea is to make the threat of global warming, which can often seem abstract or geographically distant, feel more immediate and emotionally gripping. Extreme weather events are a good vehicle for that, given the absurd (and increasing) frequency with which they’re hitting. And to that end, the interactive approach makes for an ingenious little strategy.

Forcing the viewer’s participation in the choice of language (tantamount to actually speaking it) immediately makes the exercise and message more invested (or to use the preferred industry verbiage, engaging), especially around such a loaded and deeply personal subject as the meaning of home. That, naturally, assuming the viewer is willing to even bother jumping through the site’s hoops in the first place. (The current state of environmental affairs would perhaps suggest that many are not.)

It’s also worth noting that it’s not just the ad’s voiceover that changes with the word choice: The website serves different footage based on the words selected. Some of the descriptors do work better in context than others, but the site does smartly preclude random words, like, say, banana.

“While it’s important to send the message that climate change is happening, it often makes people feel apathetic,” says Filip Engel, senior director of branding at Ørsted. The new ad, he argues, “shows what we’re capable of if we dare to set a goal and pursue it.”

“This has been among the most professionally challenging, and the most creatively rewarding, projects our team has ever been involved in,” says Sean Condon, creative director at W+K, “which I guess is kind of appropriate given that it’s intended as nothing short of a message designed to save humanity.”

While that might be claiming a bit too much credit, the ad is certainly a strong showing in the right direction.

Jakob Askou Bøss: Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy & Stakeholder Relations
Filip Engel: Senior Director, Sustainability Public Affairs & Branding, Group Support
Troels Bjørn Thorn: Head of Corporate Branding, Group Stakeholder Relations
Rikke Tolstrup: Lead Brand Consultant, Campaign Research, Dev. and Execution, Group Support
Laura Jul: Lead Digital Brand Consultant, Campaign Research, Dev. and Execution, Group Support
Peter James Andrews, Brand Consultant: Campaign Research, Dev. and Execution
Group Support

Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam
Managing Director: Blake Harrop
Executive Creative Director: Eric Quennoy / Mark Bernath
Creative Director: Sean Condon / Joe Burrin
Art Director: Henrik Edelbring
Copywriter: Toby Moore
Interactive Designer: Kevin Yaun
Head of Broadcast Production: Joe Togneri
Director of Interactive Production: Kelsie Van Deman / Monique Richards
Interactive Producer: Caitlin DeAngelis / Morgan Mendel / Annatruus Bakker
Planner: Stephane Missier
Communications Planner: Jocelyn Reist
Senior Account Director: Eleanor Thodey
Account Director: Luke Purdy
Account Manager: Kristina Jorgensen/Margot Paquien
Project Manager: Cory Chonko
Business Affairs: Kacey Kelly / Michael Graves

Film & Interactive Production
Production Company: Tool of North America
Director: Ben Tricklebank
Managing Partner: Dustin Callif
Managing Partner: Oliver Fuselier
EP, Integrated: Joshua Greenberg
EP, Innovation: Adam Baskin
Post Supervisor: Tracy Bunting
Producer, Live Action: Dawn Rose
Producer, Innovation: Jean Chang
Producer, Post: Shelli Jury
Creative Director: Josh Jetson
Creative Director: Ben Priddy
Interactive Designer: Spencer Fink
AI Specialist: Sabri Sansoy
Developer: Nick Jones

Editing Company: Spot Welders
Manging Director: David Glean
EP: Carolina Padilla
Producer: Jessica Davis
Editor: Michael Heldman
Cutting Assistant: Robinson Eng

Artist / Title: Robert Koch , Composer

Music & SFX: Mophonics
EP: Colette Huemer
Audio Engineer: Hansdale Hsu

Music & SFX: Ambassadors
Producer: Zoë de Regt
Owner/Sound Engineer: Rens Pluijm

Post Production: Shipping & Handling
Managing Director: David Glean
EP: Scott Friske
Producer: Dustin LaForce
Flame Artists: Anthony Petitti / James Buongiorno

Post Production: Shed
Producer: Amy Refern
Colorist: Sam Ziaie

Interactive Production
Production Company: Nickel Media
Founder: Jason Nickel
Team Lead: Greg Webber

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.
Publish date: November 29, 2017 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT