As the world’s largest grassroots movement, Earth Hour is pivotal in supporting WWF’s mission to safeguard our natural world for the benefit of people and nature.
In our planet's critical moment and with only seven years to achieve the ambitious 2030 Nature Positive goals, Earth Hour stands as an indispensable beacon of hope. Though we find ourselves at a crossroads, where urgent action is imperative to reverse the alarming decline of biodiversity and forge a nature-positive world, Earth Hour possesses an unparalleled ability to mobilize the masses, uniting people and communities across continents in an action-inspiring environmental movement.
In 2023, we infused Earth Hour's renowned global brand and strategy with fresh vigor to resonate with diverse cultures and ignite a collective spark of transformation, as we aimed to reach more people than ever before and catalyze tangible impacts on the ground.
We introduced the awe-inspiring "Biggest Hour for Earth" campaign, and asked people around the world to "Switch off. Give an Hour for Earth." as we aimed to amass an inspiring multitude of planet-positive pledges. Moving beyond the exclusive focus on lights-off, we placed people at the forefront of the campaign, ensuring the translatable and scalable nature of every element of Earth Hour. This approach embraced inclusivity and unity, granting our global Earth Hour network an unprecedented global focus while providing flexibility for maximum local relevance and communication impact.
In our quest to raise awareness and inspire action for our planet, we embarked on a journey to reimagine Earth Hour's "Lights Off" call-to-action and develop a new long-term positioning strategy, brand messaging and identity, new creative campaign and concept for execution in 2023.
We began by conducting audience research, where we identified a new target audience segment for Earth Hour called ‘the inactive middle’- a group not defined by demographics but by their inaction. This group consists of individuals overwhelmed by eco-anxiety and eco-fatigue, and unsure how to make a real difference.
Our strategy focused on positioning Earth Hour as an ‘entry point’ for these audiences —a transformative gateway to a nature-positive journey tailored to their desires and aspirations. We crafted an authentic, inspiring, and engaging experience that radiated unwavering optimism to captivate their hearts and minds.
Additionally, we leveraged Earth Hour's established foundation—a globally-aligned and locally-relevant campaign known for its inclusivity and positivity—and crafted a revolutionary creative campaign that would empower our global network of local WWF and Earth Hour teams to attract and captivate the newfound "inactive middle" audiences on both local and global scales.
Introducing the awe-inspiring "Biggest Hour for Earth" campaign, with a revolutionary call-to-action: "Switch off. Give an Hour for Earth." Through the concept of "Giving an Hour for Earth," we aimed to amass an inspiring multitude of planet-positive pledges—a symbol of the seven-year timeline we have to safeguard our world for future generations.
To facilitate that, we launched the Hour Bank on our global Earth Hour website that featured a pledge-mechanism where the public could ‘give an hour for Earth’ under five broad categories. It also included a Location Leaderboard to pilot the gamification of the Hour Bank, encouraging participation and fostering alignment across our network.
Further emphasizing Earth Hour's revitalized purpose and urgent mission, we introduced the sleek flip clock motif—a symbol of our commitment. It became an integral part of the brand's logo and campaign visuals, breathing new life into Earth Hour's renowned "60" motif.
This revitalization elevated awareness and inspired tangible impacts on a global scale through key visuals and widely-shared videos in 7 languages. As a global brand, we ensured that these guidelines and assets offered enough flexibility for adaptation to local cultures and contexts while maintaining a strong global connection and alignment. To uphold Earth Hour's open-source model, these assets were also made available for individual and corporate participants of Earth Hour to use and share with their own audiences. These foundations are crucial in maximizing worldwide brand awareness and enhancing Earth Hour's global PR-ability.
With globally-aligned, locally-relevant campaigns run on-ground in over 190 countries, press coverage was largely driven by local campaigns. Global press releases were also crafted to increase awareness and unified understanding of the new call-to-action, significantly enhancing Earth Hour's global PR-ability. Media opportunities for the campaign also spanned beyond that of digital and print, but also through spokesperson interviews and support on social media from prominent figures like UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
The transformation that stood out the most was the shift in measuring success from "lights out" to "hours for the planet." This change provided a tangible and engaging concept for our audience. Individuals contributed over 410,000 total hours for Earth, equivalent to 46 years of collective effort in making a difference.
Harnessing the power of the "hour," Earth Hour 2023 achieved record-breaking success in media reach, garnering an incredible 24,000+ online and print coverages in over 130 countries, among which 672 articles featured our key messaging. Notably, the highest rates of coverage were observed in China, the United States, Germany, and Vietnam. The impact of this year's Earth Hour extended to a staggering 97 billion people worldwide. Prominent public figures and governments also expressed their support alongside renowned celebrities and influencers.
We also successfully established global corporate partnerships that helped us reach more “inactive middle” audiences, including Fortnite, which engaged millions of players during the Earth Hour weekend, and Scratch Foundation, which launched a coding studio inviting millions of kids to learn about, interact with and create innovative projects about Earth Hour.
The global embrace of Earth Hour's new "Biggest Hour for Earth" campaign, coupled with the compelling "Switch-off. Give an Hour for Earth" call-to-action underscore the remarkable success of our evolved brand and the substantial increase in global participation. The unwavering commitment of our extensive network played a pivotal role in driving the unified campaign messaging to engage local audiences and helping Earth Hour reach global success.