Cartoon Network Climate Champions is a multiplatform campaign that uses Cartoon Network’s beloved brands, animation, and fun-filled storytelling to inspire and empower children aged 6 - 12 years to take on daily challenges to collectively make a world of difference in the fight against climate change. It was designed in response to a 2021 study across 13 countries that highlighted that the health of the planet was a top priority of children ages 6-12.
Cartoon Network Climate Champions applies the findings of what climate-related actions kids are currently talking about or want to adopt and gives them the opportunity to take collective action to make difference. The not-for-profit initiative focuses on empowering and educating kids to make small changes to their everyday lives at home, at school and in local communities to help save the planet.
From the "Toothbrush Hero" challenge, encouraging water-saving habits during teeth brushing, to the "Red Light Scavenger Hunt" prompting families to turn off standby devices, and the "Bag Up Your Bags" project advocating for reusing plastic bags, the campaign offers practical and easily achievable actions.
Following the initial success of the campaign in the first year across EMEA, in 2022/23 our objective was to empower even more kids around the globe. Our approach focused on three key pillars - inspiring our audience by giving prominence to real kids doing amazing things for the climate, connecting with kids in innovative ways on platforms where they love to spend time, and making the campaign even more linked to their real lives.
Cartoon Network's Climate Champions microsite acts as the campaign hub with challenges, quizzes, games, and videos that promote sustainability. This content is prominently featured on Cartoon Network's linear and digital channels. Over the past year, we grew the microsite to incorporate over 200 challenges available in 18 languages, and featured our Climate Champions content on HBO MAX. These specially designed challenges, curated by kids for kids, are crafted to motivate young people to make positive environmental changes in their lives. It celebrates them when they do make changes, to make helping the environment both tangible and achievable for kids.
An essential aspect of the 2022/23 strategy was spotlighting and celebrating real children as climate champions. Our promotional assets, featuring these young champions telling their stories successfully localised the campaign, resonating with diverse markets and inspiring children to believe in their own capacity to effect change. We really wanted to centre the initiative all around them to prevent feelings of inaccessibility. This approach utilised Cartoon Network's reach and storytelling expertise to amplify the Climate Champions message across various platforms.
Expanding the initiative's global reach was a pivotal goal over the past year. The campaign successfully expanded into the US with its dedicated microsite, showcasing real-life Climate Champions' stories and hosting a range of climate challenges.
Beyond this, we extended the campaign into local events designed to strengthen the cause. In South Africa, we launched on-the-ground activations in malls, where kids could discover Climate Champions initiatives and take part in activities. We also partnered with 250 schools across South Africa for weekly Climate Champions challenges and interschool quizzes. In Turkey we partnered with TURMEPA, to engage kids to participate in a coastal clean-up event. In Poland we partnered with- the Centre for Civic Education to run a Climate Champions conference with 297 attendees.
Over the past year we have also grown our partnership with experts and organisations to help amplify our campaign whilst bringing authority. We worked with more scientists and expert friends at WWF, opening doors to new Climate Champions challenges to further sustain our initiative. Our commitment to inspiring kids in fun and innovative ways took another step forward in 2023 with our partnership with Envision Racing, a leading electric vehicle motor-racing team. The collaboration consisted of a worldwide competition to create a replica model of a Formula-E car using nothing but electronic waste. A visual to raise awareness about the issue of e-waste, the competition served to inspire kids by demonstrating the possibilities that lie within sustainable solutions.
Further expanding our Climate Champions initiative, we've integrated it into our Roblox game, Cartoon Network: Game On! Recognising the importance of connecting with kids on platforms they already engage with. Within the game, we've incorporated Climate Champions challenges, and events dedicated to conservation and our planet, ensuring that our message reaches kids during their playtime.
Throughout every initiative, local activation, or partnership – we captured content to share across our social and digital channels. For example, we highlighted specific challenges on Facebook and Instagram creating up to 2-3 posts per week. On YouTube we featured compilations of Kids ‘Guide To’ videos, the COTC Reduce, Reuse, Recycle videos, and videos of local activations. On TikTok we featured monthly posts highlighted themes of the campaign (with Cartoon Network humour).
Cartoon Network Climate Champions represents an innovative and comprehensive approach to fostering environmental awareness and empowerment among young minds. We have succeeded in our overall our goal to foster a generation of individuals who are not just aware of the planet’s challenges but are also carefully equipped with the tools to confront them and not fear them – in many ways.
Success includes: over 1.6 million challenges accepted on the microsite to date, and an additional 4.8 million through our Roblox integration. The campaign's Tracking Study reveals that kids' comprehension of climate change has heightened, fostering a desire for further knowledge. With negative sentiments towards climate change decreasing by 6%.
Testimonials from schools shows the impact that the initiative has made on a local level, with educators noticing children's heightened enthusiasm for bettering the environment and transforming school environments into places of continuous care for the planet. The initiative has been praised by teachers for bringing fresh motivation into the curriculum, with students eagerly embracing opportunities to contribute positively to the world and their futures.
Climate Champions stands as a testament to Cartoon Network's ability to engage and educate young minds, inciting a collective sense of responsibility and fostering a proactive and empowered generation of climate-conscious individuals. The campaign's ongoing growth trajectory aims to include a digital awards ceremony for dedicated Climate Champions and an app that provides global access to challenges.