New York agencies join forces to fight climate change

Creative firepower will be the weapon for real change by Potential Energy.

Seventeen of New York’s top marketing, advertising and communications agencies are putting aside competition to fight global warming.

The coalition, Potential Energy, is made up of Barton F. Graf, CAA, Digitas, Droga5, Hill Holliday, Lippincott, Maslansky+Partners, MRM//McCann, m ss ng p eces, Oberland, One Hundred, Possible, Purpose, R/GA, WME, Work&Co and Zenith.

You may have already seen some of its work. Potential Energy launched its first initiative in May 2018 with Donate:60, a student-organized nationwide campaign asking valedictorians and class leaders to donate sixty seconds of their commencement speech to the issues that matter most to their generation: action on climate change; safety from gun violence and equality across race; gender and sexual orientation.

More than 250 students heeded the call to action spanning 136 cities in 24 states. The primarily digital campaign leveraged social media to amplify the message of "#donate60seconds" and reach hundreds of thousands of student voters across the United States.

Now, through a targeted portfolio of advocacy campaigns, Potential Energy aims to educate the public about climate change, simplify the language around what is needed to mitigate its long-term impact and spark real change.

"The reality is that we all know we are complicit in this challenge," said John Marshall, president of Potential Energy and chief strategy officer at Lippincott. "We all fly to clients, drive cars, eat hamburgers, heat our houses. We all consume energy. We believe that the only way to solve climate change will be just as much about sacrifice, as collaboration, innovation and creativity."

The organization’s success over a five-year period will be measured by significantly expanding the size and power of the group of voting-age citizens viewing climate solutions as a number one voting priority, from six million today to more than 10 million by 2023.

"Communicating the existential challenge of climate change has been an intractable problem for decades," said Dan Schrag. "We are optimistic that bringing together the power of the very best skills on Madison Avenue can create the new approaches we need to motivate the public towards action."

Karen Land Short, group creative director at Droga5, added: "One of the most valuable things we can do in today’s world is fuel the younger generation.

"It was incredible to see the kids run with this idea and, in the end, to gather a powerful group together that will go on to do more with their voice. It makes you hopeful for the future in a time when that’s hard to come by."

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