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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Attributing Extreme Weather to Climate Change

Entered in Environment & Sustainability


Climate change can seem distant – it’s happening far away, or in the future. A global problem, that’s outweighed by more immediate issues closer to home. And one where collective action or viable changes are seemingly difficult to achieve.

We wanted to build awareness of the Met Office’s role as an impartial, trusted informer and advisor on climate change, and help people to understand that "The changes in our weather impact things that matter to me" and that they "need to get climate ready for tomorrow … to find out what [they] can do." – enabling them to #GetClimateReady by:

The Met Office wanted to reach audiences currently sceptical, or less concerned about climate change. Using a combination of Met Office and YouGov data  – in particular focusing on areas in the UK that had experienced extreme weather conditions, and the Met Office had conducted existing polling – we identified BC1 and C2 males and females, aged 25-34 years old, as the target audience.

This audience has some limited awareness of the link between extreme weather and climate change, but they will not feel a sense of urgency to get climate ready:

We needed to connect the climate emergency to day-to-day life – connecting the climate science with the audience’s passions, and showing how immediate actions can make a difference.

Our target audience is traditional, ordered & hard-working – leisure time with their families and holidays, a beer in the pub, football and other sporting events are all passion points for this group.

Strategy and Execution

Method deployed

As the UK's National Meteorological Service, the Met Office’s role is to provide data that helps the British public make decisions and shape their lives. So it was vital that our campaign was rooted in science, and the tone informed and educated, rather than seeking to lobby or campaign.

The Met Office’s extensive scientific research base provided a number of creative routes to tap in to our audience’s passions – increasing potato blight caused by rising temperatures is putting the Friday fish and chips at risk, and extreme weather in Africa could double the price of the great British cuppa.

But there was a clear winner, a sweet spot that combined scientific rigour, spoke to our target audience’s passions, while also being relatable to the wider public, and had strong creative potential: climate change means football might not be coming home….

Around a third of grassroots pitches are losing six weeks to two months of the year from flooding due to severe weather – including during some heavy rainfall events in the UK that can be attributed to human-caused climate change – and by 2050 it’s predicted that this will rise to a quarter of all UK football grounds experiencing flooding.

It was time to get the ball rolling on climate change.

For our audience, online is king – they’re 39% more likely to engage with social media ads, and in particular they love video content (spending almost x2 the amount of time on Snapchat, 1.5x as much time on Instagram, and 1.3x as much time on YouTube as the average person in the UK).


So we showed that the game we love is at real risk – with content based in scientific research, that appealed to the passions of our target audience specifically, while maintaining broader societal appeal.

Authentic social videos (carefully combining stock footage, members of the public, and professional filming, to create authentic, budget-conscious content) asked if players soon be encouraged to dive?! How teams might adjust their tactics on a waterlogged pitch. And showcased the many local pitches already being regularly flooded.

The campaign was amplified by influencer Samantha Miller (Instagram: @samanthajademiller) – who, as an ex-professional footballer and strong advocate for women’s football had a strong following amongst fans, an even split of followers between men and women, and the ability to bring to life the climate change message in an authentic way.


Attributing Extreme Weather to Climate Change was Smarts’ first campaign with the Met Office.

By drawing on the agency’s scientific rigour; identifying our audience’s passion points; and delivering creative, low-cost content together with an authentic influencer partner, we:

There’s no doubt that tapping into personal passion points clearly resonated with our target audience, and drove genuine, significant engagement.

Across every channel, Attributing Extreme Weather to Climate Change was one of the highest performing government digital campaigns:

Channel and Metric    


Video for Attributing Extreme Weather to Climate Change

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Smarts, Met Office