Most people believe global warming is too big a problem for them to solve. They needed to convince them that their individual involvement in one simple event could make a difference. ‘Earth Hour’ encouraged everyone to join in one statement-making event, by simply turning off their lights for one hour, on one night: March 31st 7:30pm. The event was innovative in its simplicity: assign a simple task that anyone can do and spread the call-to-action through word of mouth. Earth Hour quickly gained momentum – the whole Sydney community and beyond became involved in the event. They needed an inspirational method of promoting their big idea. Securing ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ newspaper and actively exploding their idea throughout wider media enabled them to build large-scale awareness through four key phases: 1. '60' brand identity launched via press launch 2. Creation of intrigue: 'teaser' TV, press, poster, and on-line. 3. Community call-to-action: TV, outdoor, Radio, Press, PR, SMS, POS, celebrity, corporate and government endorsement, on-the-street marketing, promotions and online activity 4. The Event – Sydney-siders held their own events and gathered to watch the lights go down while Sydney was broadcast to the world via international news. The only way to encourage change was to make Earth Hour part of the social fabric of Sydney - people needed to talk about it at beaches, in pubs and around their dinner table. They had to ensure it was part of the daily news agenda – an alignment with Fairfax allowed us to achieve this. They also needed to ensure that the event remained top of mind over time. This was achieved through our media partners but more importantly, through corporate, celebrity and government endorsement and integration into popular culture making Earth Hour part of their consumers’ daily lives. It worked. 97% of Sydney-siders were aware of Earth Hour. Over half of Sydney inhabitants participated in some form. The CBD cut energy consumption by 10.2% (expected 5%), the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road for one hour. 2.2 million people in Sydney switched off their lights. Global PR coverage - Earth Hour captured the world's attention and the story was covered in over 40 countries. In fact, other countries have already expressed interest in hosting their own Earth Hour in 2008.
Agency: Leo Burnett Sydney, Australia.