Between 2010 and 2014, The Media Alliance managed a regional campaign utilising both traditional and online media to raise public awareness of climate change issues under the tagline ‘Redraw the Line’. The campaign was launched initially in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, and Bangladesh was added in 2014.
The project was undertaken in collaboration with, and with the support of, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The objectives of the campaign were to raise awareness of the factors impacting climate change, encourage consumer demand for socially responsible products and services to minimise impact on the environment, and achieve behaviour change in respect of collective and individual practices and patterns of consumption that affect the climate.
Asia is the most rapidly economically developing region of the world with approximately one-half of the world’s population comprising a formidable base of consumers demanding transportation, energy and manufactured goods that outstrip the consumption of other industrialised nations. Correspondingly, the exploitation of natural resources and degradation of the environment is exponentially increased, resulting in rising levels of carbon emissions and an increase in the rate of climate change and its consequences. Greater social awareness of the factors affecting climate change and an increase in demand for ‘green’ consumption is necessary in encouraging business and government to move toward sustainable consumption in the burgeoning consumer economies of Asia. Increased access to knowledge and information for mass audiences is required to educate populations of emerging consumers on the need to reduce individual carbon footprints, and on the individual actions that can be taken to accomplish this.
The Media Alliance convened partners from multiple sectors to produce and disseminate the ‘Redraw the Line’ campaign. The stakeholders in this initiative included the media, advertising and creative companies, entertainment personalities, and multi-lateral development agencies. The campaign incorporated a range of educational and public awareness materials including country-specific public service advertisements (PSAs) and other content for use in broadcast, print, digital, and online knowledge platforms. The advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather provided the regional creative brief, campaign branding and design for the ‘Redraw the Line’ campaign. The Asian Sports Network, Celestial Tiger Entertainment, Discovery Networks Asia Pacific, the Health and Living Channel, MTV Networks North and Southeast Asia, and Turner Broadcasting System supported the campaign with airtime on a regional basis. National TV broadcasters in Thailand (Thai Public Broadcasting Service, Nation TV and NBT Channel 11) and Bangladesh (ETV) also provided airtime, as did many radio broadcasters in the Philippines, Thailand and Bangladesh. National print media companies gave publicity to the campaign through editorial features on the campaign themes and coverage of events.
The campaign and its initial content was launched on 7 December 2011 at the Media Leaders’ Forum on Climate Change which was held as the opening session of the Asia Television Forum (ATF) conference in Singapore. This high-level forum of Asia-regional media leaders discussed the role and responsibility of media companies in affecting positive social action and behaviour change on climate change and was organised jointly by The Media Alliance, Reed Exhibitions, CASBAA and ContentAsia in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and with the support of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the International Advertising Association (IAA), the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA), the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Singapore, the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies, Singapore (4As), the Singapore Compact for Corporate Social Responsibility and Ruder-Finn Asia.
Specifically campaign’s objectives were to (a) advance a “public awareness and behavior change initiative on climate change, (b) relate the content of the communications campaign to substantive digital information platforms, and (c) establish broad media, entertainment and creative industry participation in spreading knowledge about climate change and adaptation to it.”
Utilizing both traditional media (broadcast and print) and social media, as well as direct engagement with students at universities, the campaign aimed to encourage action and behavior change by raising awareness of clean energy and low transportation options, and ways to increase energy efficiency, and promote the reduction of unsustainable consumption habits by raising awareness of sustainable alternatives.
The direct engagement with university students involved a separate partnership with the US-based No Impact Project to organize ‘No Impact Weeks’ at universities and other institutions of higher learning to encourage young people to adopt low carbon lifestyle practices, educate about recycling and encourage consumption of locally grown and organic foods.
The expected impact of the communications campaign was to influence public opinion in ways that would create an increase in capacity of civil society and the private sector in the target countries to stimulate positive action in response to climate change.
The expected outcome of the campaign was a mobilisation of media organisations (broadcast and print), advertising industry professionals, entertainers and university students to encourage citizen actions to achieve policy change to more effectively integrate climate change with social and economic goals.
Outputs were expected to include campaign materials (broadcast public service announcements (PSAs), social media pages, campaign website, online banner ads and informational vignettes), regional seminars, University No Impact Weeks, localized No Impact toolkits, training workshops for journalists, and engagement of celebrities as ‘climate change champions’.
Four PSAs, three of which were animated, were produced for broadcast television, and an additional animated PSA for online media. The first PSA, launched in May 2012, was to create general awareness of climate change impacts and promote the Redraw The Line theme. The following three PSAs, launched in May 2014, focused on individual actions that could contribute towards mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change through positive social action and behavior change (saving energy, using alternatives to plastic bags, and disposing of trash properly). For broadcast television, 30, 45 and 60 secs versions were produced in English, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese and five Philippines dialects. Radio versions were also produced in the Philippines and Thailand in September 2014.
The first PSA received extensive regional airplay on a variety of international channels in Southeast Asia and on Thai cable services. The following three PSAs received exposure on international channels as well as national channels in Thailand and Bangladesh. It is estimated that 150,000 – 300,000 people saw the PSAs in the target countries (as the PSAs were shown on the Southeast Asian feeds of international channels like MTV and Discovery, it is likely that between 500,000 and 1 million people saw the PSAs throughout Southeast Asia).
The PSAs were also posted to YouTube and Vimeo with links from the campaign website and promoted through social media. These were viewed more than 4,000 times. In addition to the airtime contributions, the Singapore office of the multi-national Ogilvy advertising group provided subsidised production of the first PSA, and a Bangkok-based production house, Eqho Communications, provided subsidised translation and voice-over services for local language versions as in-kind contributions to the campaign. An English language website and local language Facebook pages were maintained throughout the campaign for each of the target countries, and local language websites were added in the final year of the campaign. Twitter and Instagram were also used in some countries.
In each target country a ‘Building Critical Mass Awareness of Climate Change’ day-long seminar was held to showcase how various media sectors could give better visibility to the social, humanitarian, environmental and sustainable development implications of climate change through programming and editorial content. These were held in Manila in August 2103, Hanoi in December 2013, Bangkok in May 2014 and Dhaka in December 2014. Each seminar attracted 80-100 attendees (Hanoi had more than 200 attendees but this included 120 university students from the Academy of Journalism and Communications). Two regional seminars were also held in Hong Kong and Singapore in May 2013 in efforts to engage the private sector in supporting awareness initiatives. Capacity-building workshops for editors and journalists (print and broadcast) on reporting climate change as it relates to agriculture and food security were held in the Philippines in August 2014, and in Vietnam in November 2014, in partnership with the CCAFS Regional Program for Southeast Asia. These were rated as highly successful based on the number of stories produced by participants following the workshops.
Reports on the workshops were distributed to media organizations unable to send representatives. In Thailand a workshop on reporting climate change in a more general context was held in October 2014 in partnership with the Thai Society of Environmental Journalists. University No Impact Weeks were held at universities in all target countries – five in Thailand (October 2013 and September-December 2014), four in Vietnam (December 2012 and May-November 2014), two in the Philippines (August 2014 and March 2015) and two in Bangladesh (October-November 2014) – and shorter No Impact events in nine other universities in the Philippines. These were all rated as successful achieving observable behavior change as well as raising awareness of the campaign’s key issues. Some informational vignettes on recycling were produced in 2012 and placed on the campaign’s YouTube channel, and five cooking shows promoting the use of organic products, hosted by a well-known Philippines celebrity, Bea Binene, were produced in 2014.
The most successful aspect of the campaign aside from the exposure of the PSAs through regional and national broadcasters was the engagement of university students in undertaking No Impact Weeks, No Impact Experiments and other No Impact events. More than 10,000 students from 12 universities in Bangladesh, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam participated in No Impact Weeks in 2014 alone.
Other No Impact events in Bangladesh, Philippines and Vietnam directly involved another 1000+ students. Taking account of social media exposure of all No Impact activities, it is estimated that more than 70,000 students were engaged in some way (the photo competition held by the Hanoi University of Science and Technology in the lead-up to its No Impact Week alone attracted more than 27,300 visits on Facebook). In Vietnam, a Climate Change Communication Camp – a training workshop for student leaders on how to deal with the media and communicate climate change messages – was held in partnership with 350.org.
Also in Vietnam, a total of 26 celebrities participated in a photoshoot for an event called ‘I Ride A Bike Today’ which was organized jointly by Redraw The Line and BooVironment – the environmental advocacy arm of a popular clothing retail chain. The aim of ‘I Ride A Bike Today’ was to advocate the use of bicycles for short-distance journeys and raise awareness of climate change. Extensive media coverage of the event was achieved, its Facebook page achieved more than 5,200 likes and over 500,000 views during the period November 2014 – January 2015, and more than 1,000 students participated in a 15km bike ride.
Throughout the campaign, regular updates were made to the campaign’s Facebook pages and Twitter feeds with messages both about the campaign itself and about the climate change issues that the campaign was focusing on. The campaign website generated a total of 16,678 page views since July 2013 when it was revamped, with 87 pages of new content added in 2014, of which 46 were blog entries in local languages. These pages were continuing to receive traffic even after the conclusion of the campaign.