Looking to draw attention to and drive engagement for "Act in Paris," Sierra Club's international climate campaign on the road to 2020, Sierra Club partnered with RYOT Media & Environmental Media Association to create a PSA campaign that shed light on international climate issues set to be discussed in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November 2015 (commonly referred to as COP21). which brought together 195 nations in an effort to produce the world's first unifying agreement to stop climate disruption.
This particular PSA would seek to highlight the devastating effects of climate change, by creating a visceral experience that allowed viewers to truly see and feel the effects of climate change, and spur them to engage their networks and urge world leaders to take meaningful action in Paris. Seeking to activate audiences at all levels in order to spur such change, the overall goals were to create awareness and support of the ongoing "Act in Paris" campaign efforts, sustain interest in the negotiations leading up to the conference, as well as create new advocates in the fight for climate change.
In order to create a moving PSA that showcased climate change firsthand and pushed forward the #ActinParis campaign, RYOT worked with The Sierra Club & the Environmental Media Association to ideate, create, and distribute a virtual reality short film, the first of its kind, that would uniquely turn passive viewers into active participants against climate change.
Allowing viewers to see the impact of environmental effects on the world, the piece would offer a 360 immersive degree view of Portage Glacier located in Alaska. A prime example of such effects, the former ice caverns had retreated the entire distance of the valley, which it had previously filled just a century ago.
Taking viewers directly into the middle of this former ice behemoth, and offering them the chance to watch and hear the ice melting rapidly from the inside out, the PSA would put the urgency of #ActinParis in startlingly relief--to help them both understand to that climate change is real, and also to compel them to do everything they can to halt and reverse it by signing the Sierra Club's petition to world leaders in support of a strong climate agreement in Paris.
In addition to uniquely situating audience within the glacier itself, the team worked to layer the film with a familiar voice, noted activist and Academy Award winning actor Jared Leto. By enlisting Leto to both narrate the piece and engage his extensive social network to watch the piece and post their photo petition "#ActinParis" in support, the team hoped to leverage his platform to show that this was not just a political issue, but a cultural and humanitarian one as well. Guided through the ice caves by Leto, audiences would understand not only what was happening in the Artic Tundra, but also in their backyards--thereby grounding the global implications of the problem, as well as the global necessity to become a part of the solution and send messages to their leaders urging them to be bold and #ActInParis.
Finally, the team worked to strategically time the release and promotion of the virtual reality PSA to shortly before the international climate negotiations. Available on several screens, including desktop and mobile, via the RYOT-VR app, YouTube 360 and Facebook, the campaign also wove in several calls to actions within the PSA itself and all supporting distribution efforts to continually stress the importance of viewing, acting, and socially engaging with #ActinParis, as a final push of action leading into the UN conference.
Two months before the UN Conference on October 7, 2015, the first ever virtual reality PSA was released across all digital and social channels.The final PSA generated more than 200,000 views via YouTube 360 and 20,000 views via the newly premiered Facebook 360. The piece also saw great response and engagement with varied entertainment, technology and environmental coverage in leading outlets, including: Fast Company, Upworthy, CBS News, People, IndieWire, and TechRepublic.
Simultaneously, Jared Leto's support of the campaign helped to bring the PSA to a new social level. Tweeting the piece, along with a social petition call to action to his network of more than 2 million followers, Leto helped to engage thousands of retweets and likes, and more than 100 response tweets with the social petition. Additionally, celebrity environmental influencers, including: Ian Somerhalder, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Constance Zimmer, Brandon Boyd, and Ed Begley Jr. helped to garner an additional 500k social impressions.
Galvanizing international grassroots support and buoyed by the release of the PSA, the #ActinParis saw huge engagement and awareness-- finally leading to more than 150 nations pledging support for the climate agreement in Paris.
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