'Right kind of idea, wrong time' - Creative Hits & Misses of the Week

Rick Guttridge, MD of Smoking Gun, takes a critical look at this week's creative offerings.

'Right kind of idea, wrong time' - Creative Hits & Misses of the Week

With COP26 around the corner, there is, rightly so, a bigger focus on sustainable and climate change campaigns, although some brands didn’t get the memo...


Co-op rebrands as ‘Co-op26’

There’s been a few campaigns of late that seem to jump onto the ‘climate crisis’ bandwagon for the sake of it, without it aligning with their values or really doing much to action any real change. This stunt from Co-op, however, seems wholly authentic and very on-brand with everything the company stands for.

Co-op has rebranded to ‘Co-op26’ across its social channels as well as three of its Glasgow stores where this year's COP26 is being held, to ‘Co-op26’ in a clever way to engage its customers with the climate change conversation. It’s also implemented in-store prompts, with tips for shoppers on how to live more sustainably.

This is a hit for me, not just because I love a pun but it really targets the everyday person as opposed to the bigwigs who will be sauntering around COP26 next week.

‘Joe Lycett vs The Oil Giant'

Keeping in with the climate change theme, this cheeky stunt from Channel 4 and Joe Lycett to promote the new show ‘Joe Lycett vs The Oil Giant’ really captured my attention.

In collaboration with artist Darren Cullen, the campaign used a big yellow bus displayed with a mural of a mock Shell advert captioned "we’re turning our carbon emissions green for earth day", and parked it right outside Shell’s London HQ - very bold.

Channel 4’s partnership with Joe Lycett has provided us with quite a few entertaining moments and this latest one did not disappoint. As well as its comedic value, I think this serves to highlight the all too familiar and longstanding big corporation ‘greenwashing’.

Clean Creatives coming for UK PR

The Joe Lycett campaign gave me a nice segway into the next greenwashing targeting ‘hit’. Coming for the UK PR industry is the Clean Creatives, which launched this week to target agencies who work with fossil fuel producers. The campaign group started in the US originally and has already singled out industry bigwigs Omnicom and WPP - yikes.

I like this as there hasn’t been much to date that holds the industry accountable, and I think we could all agree that the sector, ourselves included, could all be doing more to target climate change.

The campaigners must be doing something right because they’ve already encouraged WPP to bring its carbon emissions to net zero - time for more of us to get on board.


Burger King’s Fall Collection

In a week where we’ve seen some standout campaigns around climate change, this stunt from Burger King and its shirt designed to disguise burger spills to me felt like the right kind of fun brand idea but at the wrong time.

I understand where they are coming from, and ‘The Fall Collection’ perfectly fits the brand, but the limited-edition silk shirt seems pretty tone-deaf in a period where there is such a focus on reducing carbon emissions and leading a more sustainable lifestyle.

Lifestyle trends have seen Brits reducing their meat consumption for health and eco reasons, and being encouraged to pull on silk Hawaiian shirts in celebration of burgers isn't quenching my appetite.

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