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Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

jonathan_wise_reclaiming_agency_rachel_manns_nov_2019_27-min.jpg

(from https://www.reclaimingagency.com/meet-us)

Jonathan Wise is an adman calling his industry to account for its contribution to climate collapse.

In his late 30s, at the height of a career as a senior planning strategist, Jonathan’s MA course in Sustainability made him think again about the assumptions of endless growth and resource depletion that underpin advertising success.

“I felt I’d been stupid – not the smartest guy in the room, after all. I’d been duped and my identity was challenged,” Jonathan said when I interviewed him last week for my forthcoming book. The experience triggered deep self-questioning about what it means to be a good person, and a good man in particular.

Retreats in nature and time with a Maori community led him to leave his job and create the Comms Lab and Reclaiming Agency, which offers space for advertising people at all levels to reflect on practice and consider whether there are better ways of doing business.

At a recent Radical Resilience webinar organised by St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, Wise gave the example of car ads which now feature groups of people sharing cars, a move away from the man and his machine trope. Still selling cars, though.

More radical is the manifesto at the heart of the Change the Brief demands which emerged from a day Wise and others organised last July where ad execs gathered to reflect on the industry’s role in the climate emergency and consider what steps they might take to challenge ‘business as usual’. It is an impressive set of principles (including don’t do work that increases carbon footprint), and the details of the process which gave rise to them are worth reading in full (here: ad industry acts

My question is: what is PR doing that begins to match this?

The CIPR has set up a committee that has been stalled by the virus; the PRCA has linked up with the Advertising Association to develop joint campaigns (thanks Rachel Picken for info) (PRCA).

How can PR leadership ensure that actions on climate change are more than skin deep, go further than adding ‘sustainable’ to slogans and brand images? Catherine Arrow‘s piece sets out some of the challenges, now and in the likely future.

Like advertisers, PR people have the skills, creativity and intellect to change the story. B Corporations might be one route. I suspect deep adaptation is required, as suggested at the Radical Resilience event. I hope the work I’m doing on deep communication principles will help. I doubt it will be in time.

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