The Champions for Earth tournament, playable in Angry Birds Friends from September the 21st - 27th 2015, was an environmental awareness raising and action inspiring game experience, aimed at making a difference in the fight for global sustainability.
Coinciding with UN Climate Week in New York City, we wanted to encourage citizens of all ages to recognize the massive challenge that climate change presents, while amplifying the discussion around sustainability issues.
In addition to being an awareness raising program, proceeds from the tournament went toward the Earth Day Network's Canopy Project, a global effort to plant one billion new trees within five years in the communities that need them most.
The strategy of the program was to motivate people to take on climate change by reaching them where they already spend a substantial amount of their time – their mobile devices. As opposed to trying to launch new products and build an audience from scratch, we incorporated climate change messaging into one of the most downloaded game franchises of all times – Angry Birds.
The tournament began September 21st 2016 and coincided with Climate Week in New York City. The game was themed around climate change, and players encountered integrated fact cards about the climate with easily accessible follow-up links with tips on how to take action. This ranged from activities like signing a climate petition or pledging to plant trees, to tweeting at elected officials, and sharing their passion with an #angryaboutclimatechange selfie. The campaign messaging was developed together with experts from the likes of NASA, NOAA, Yale, USC, The White House and the Smithsonian, and was available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Korean.
In order to amplify the campaign message and cut through the noise, the tournament also featured messages from global celebrities: Don Cheadle and Ian Somerhalder, UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors; comedian Danny DeVito; Matt Damon, Water.org co-founder; Indian superstars Anil and Sonam Kapoor; and members of Korean pop sensation VIXX. Campaign videos and trailers with the star-studded cast were produced for social media channels, and during the gameplay, these popular Champions invited Angry Birds players to compete against them on the leaderboard. They were also the ones who "virtually" shared the before mentioned facts about climate change within the game, encouraging players to take action.
What we really wanted to accomplish was to challenge Angry Birds players of the world to champion the environment and fight climate change both metaphorically and in literally, and the star studded line-up in Champions for Earth afforded us a unique and powerful opportunity to build awareness and support for this important topic.
ncorporating climate change messages into the most popular video game series ever turned out to be an amazing way to communicate with a broad and diverse audience:
In just one week the campaign managed
All this resulted in a whopping 150,000 new trees being planted in East Africa!
All in all, utilizing such an enormous and compelling gaming platform provided the campaign with a dynamic way to communicate with a broad group of people globally, as mobile gaming has turned out to be an excellent way to engage millennials with a topic they care about deeply.
Champions for Earth was possible thanks to cooperation with UNFCCC, Connect4Climate (A Global Partnership Program for the World Bank), the documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, the United Nations Environment Programme, Water.org and the Climate Reality Project, and Christiana Figueres, the UN's top climate official and head of the UN Climate Convention (UNFCCC).
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