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Creatives for Climate
  -  Briefs   -  Fossil Free Nederland

Fossil Free NL is part of a global movement committed to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all. Fossil Free started in 2012 as a campaign to push institutions to divest from fossil fuels, building on the work of student-led university divestment campaigns.

Divestment remains a key part of the Fossil Free campaign and you can learn more about the tactic and its many successes here.


The Brief

– What is the impact objective?

We want the government to pass legislation that bans all and any form of fossil fuel advertisement.
Nowadays oil and gas companies present themselves as the thought leaders and experts of the energy transition. They do so by branding campaigns in which they pose as green companies, with hands-on solutions. This branding serves to strengthen their public affairs efforts to bend politicians to their will. The subsidies and tax cuts have only increased! This is known as greenwashing.

We believe a ban would speed up the transition away from fossil fuels because it’s a clear message to society that fossil fuels belong to the past. It opens up a market for green investments, and it will trigger public perception to change around fossil fuels and cause the masses to view fossil fuels with the same contempt as they regard cigarettes. Because let’s face it, fossil fuels are cancer to our world.

– What is the campaign that will get us there?

Because we know a ban is controversial, we want to show parliament that this measure has broad public support. We propose to create laws that ban fossil fuel advertisements and branding. We’ll use an official democratic instrument for that: a citizen’s initiative.
When a citizen’s initiative has acquired 40.000 signatures, parliament is obliged to discuss it. And that’s where we need your help. Because we don’t want ‘just’ 40.000 signatures, we want 400.000! We want and need to baffle our government with the support.
We need to get everybody talking about this. We will kickstart and change the conversation.
And to make this campaign a success, we need badass creatives who think big and feel this ban could be a huge step forward in saving the earth. Creatives who recognize our campaign can very easily cause a domino effect beyond The Netherlands, and trigger a worldwide movement. Imagine a world without the bullshit greenwashing campaigns clouding our judgement and the decisions we make daily with where we spend our money. Imagine a world where all petrol stations have the same boring greyscale colours and basic fonts, accompanied with big white letters warning about the hazards. If here’s a way to start spreading awareness, this is it and you can help!

 – Is there a key message this campaign has to share?

There are two:
1) Fossil fuel advertising obstructs us from preventing climate disaster by misleading and manipulate the public and politicians to cling to a fossil fuel-filled world. We need to ban fossil fuel advertisements and add obligatory warnings so consumers learn
about the harm of fossil fuels.

2) The battle against climate change is hard as it is. Why are fossil companies still allowed to mislead and entice us with advertisements and marketing to use more fossil fuels? This needs to end now.


 – What’s the timeline?

De Volkskrant just published a massive scoop of an article called – ‘Hoe Frits Böttcher met steun van tientallen bedrijven de basis legde voor de klimaatscepsis in Nederland’. A piece shedding light on how massive corporations have been funding climate sceptism for the last decades, all to keep the fossil fuel industry profitable. Read the article here.
We decided to use the momentum of the article and launched our signature campaign a few days ago. However, we want to present the citizen’s initiative in November 2020 at the climate negotiations COP26 for an international audience, hopefully alongside one or more countries with the same message!

 – Who is the target audience?

We’re casting a wide net, but focusing on:
– People with the Dutch nationality, aged 18+
– Interested in politics and worried about climate change
– Interested in the natural world, being outdoors, the beauty of nature
– People who make changes in their own lives (plastic reduction, less meat, changing light bulbs, protecting trees in their streets, buying second-hand clothing) who feel it’s not fair that they are doing their best and that fossil fuel companies are enabled to grow in oil and gas.
– People who sign petitions, but feel it’s not enough and want to really step up to ask for change
– We would welcome advice from creatives to further specify target audience 🙂

– What tone of voice is needed?

We should use truthful language, and state the case as simply and obviously as 1+1=2. The ban on fossil fuel advertisements should appeal to everyone’s common sense logic. Tongue and cheek humour is an effective tool to make the obvious clear, but also as way to create awareness around the dangers of greenwashing.
This law should have been the first climate measure, it’s almost silly we haven’t thought of this before. Maybe the tone can even play into the ‘self-aware’ type of copywriting and advertisements that brands like Oatley and Oasis use. We’re striving to create an eye-opening ‘A-ha’ moment which makes people view fossil fuel advertisements in a way that can’t be ‘unseen’. Add a giggle and they’ll be signing forms in no time at all.


 – What kind of deliverables would we like C4C to produce?

• Holistic campaign concept (for example: use tactics from the early advertisement days to ask support for a ban on fossil fuel advertisements)
• Strategy: Create a decision dilemma for politicians and others; dare them to defend why fossil fuel advertisements are necessary
• Appealing storyline/ Key campaign messages
• A spectacular (launch) and effectively pressuring event at Parliament
• BN’ers promoting the ban, testimonials
• Strategic action plan to win over social media
• Creative actions: adbusters, anti-advertisements
• Free publicity
• Full social media approach and execution
• Product placement in soaps
• Visual identity campaign
• Visually stimulating creative executions
• A-how to guide (action kit) for other countries to copy our quest for a law

 – Are there any mandatory requirements?

– The primary text should be in Dutch
– We should have a secondary approach that can be accommodated in English so it can reach further.
– We don’t have a logo yet, we really hope you creatives can make one!
– For typeface and colour codes, you can use this: https://350.org/visuals/#text (however, if someone wants to develop a stand-alone style guide for this campaign, we are of course open to that!)

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