This year Earth Hour has reached truly global proportions. From an event which began in Sydney in 2007 when 2.2 million people switched off their lights for one hour, Earth Hour is aiming to hit a target of 1 billion people in 2009.
To reach such a huge number of people worldwide, an equally big idea was needed. An advertising campaign to reach this target has been launched by advertising agency Leo Burnett Sydney. The idea was to turn Earth Hour 2009 into the world's first global election, between the candidates of Earth and global warming. In the lead up to Earth Hour, people of the world have been urged to VOTE EARTH, by using their light switch as their vote. Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, while leaving them on is a vote for global warming, transforming Earth Hour into a worldwide election night.
Last year in 2008, 50 million people took part in Earth Hour by switching off their lights. With 2009 being the third year of Earth Hour, Leo Burnett wanted to re-invigorate the event, and generate a level of involvement far exceeding previous years.
To achieve the level of global scale which this election deserves, Leo Burnett decided that Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the iconic a Hope, Change and Progress posters of Barack Obama in the recent US Presidential election, was the only choice to create the artwork for the VOTE EARTH campaign. The artwork has been featured in a global integrated campaign urging the world to VOTE EARTH, and is available to the worldwide public at the VOTE EARTH website earthhour.org/voteearth, to show their support of Earth.
This truly is the first time that the entire world has a vote and a say in the future of our planet. The campaign has seen great use of creative media designed to really get people involved and make their vote count on Earth Hour.
A huge tree in Sydney's Centennial Park has appeared this week wearing a giant VOTE EARTH T-shirt. The tree is called EARTH TREE. The tree will be wearing the shirt until this Sunday the 29th, at the York St entry to Centennial Park. People of the city are invited to come down and see the tree, take photos of themselves with it and help spread the word about Earth Hour. You can also upload your photos of the EARTH TREE to the Earth Hour group on flickr.
This type of creative is an example of how an idea like VOTE EARTH can be translated into so many different mediums of communication far beyond the traditional. An installation which can be enjoyed by the public certainly feels right in the spirit of the world's first global election, in which we all have a vote for Earth. It makes sense that even nature is getting behind the movement.
WWF are taking the results of the VOTE EARTHcampaign to the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009, which will be submitted as a united statement by the people of the world against global warming. This meeting will urge governments around the world to adopt official policies to take action against global warming, and will supersede the Kyoto Protocol.
Switch off your lights this Saturday March 28th 8:30-9:30pm, and join the world for Earth Hour. Your light switch is your vote. And every vote counts.