Saturday, April 01, 2006

Funny Stuff and Serious Business

The folks at Grist are up to their annual April Fool's highjinks, with one faux article addressing the rebranding of global warming. Interestingly enough, marketing guru Seth Godin argued for such action (seriously) a month ago:
...the vast majority of the population hasn't even thought about the issue. The muted reaction to our impending disaster comes down to two things:
  1. the name.

    Global is good.
    Warm is good.
    Even greenhouses are good places.

    How can "global warming" be bad?

    I'm not being facetious. If the problem were called "Atmosphere cancer" or "Pollution death" the entire conversation would be framed in a different way.

  2. the pace and the images.

    One degree every few years doesn't make good TV. Because activists have been unable to tell their story with vivid images about immediate actions, it's just human nature to avoid the issue. Why give up something we enjoy now to make an infintesimal change in something that is going to happen far in the future?

Lady Bird Johnson understood this when she invested her efforts into a campaign against litter and pollution. The problem was easy to see. The messaging was emotional and immediate. You could see how your contribution (or efforts) mattered.

Because you don't see your coal being burned (it accounts for more than 50% of US electricity) and because the stuff coming out of your car is invisible, and because you don't live near a glacier, it's all invisible.

Is Godin on to something? Or, does Grist hit closer to the truth? Shea had thoughts on this when Seth first posted it. And, in the spirit of Shea's post, let me make mention that is starting its private beta today or tomorrow, and plans to be open for business on April 15th.

Categories: , , , ,