'Wreck the brief': Creatives protest fossil fuel marketing outside WPP and Edelman offices

Activists will be handing out a satirical pamphlet with tips and tricks on sabotaging briefs for fossil fuel clients.

Creatives have taken to protesting against fossil fuel advertising outside WPP and Edelman offices this morning (30 August).

As part of the protest, activists will be handing out a pamphlet called The Brief Sabotage Handbook.

An initiative from Glimpse – a network of creatives who took over Clapham Common Tube station with cat posters in 2016 – the handbook is wholly satirical and contains tips and tricks on sabotaging a brief for fossil fuel and high-carbon clients.

It includes a four-step plan on how to wreck a campaign, ranging from instructions on how to confuse the planner and do bad work, to telling readers to run naked in the background of every shot so it’s too expensive to fix in post-production.

It finishes with the line: “Delay. Dither. Bungle. Wreck the brief.”

Protestors outside WPP’s Ogilvy and Wunderman Thompson offices will be targeting the agencies for their work with Shell and BP, while protestors at Edelman’s offices are targeting the communications agency for its work with oil and gas company Exxon Mobil.

The handbook was developed by creatives at Glimpse, all of whom are under the age of 30.

James Turner, founder of Glimpse, said the handbook was a “playful intervention” to keep the conversation moving about what “young creatives” can do in their agencies which contributes to fixing climate change.

He added: “The sabotage handbook that we've created is supposed to be something that sits on the water cooler that gets passed around the office. People might smile and joke about it, but it allows people to have what can be quite a challenging conversation in the office and makes it a little bit easier because humour often does.”

The protest is intended as a “playful intervention”. Groups at different sites will be holding an “outdoor brainstorm” which asks creatives to come up with practical ways to derail a high carbon brief.

Lauren Jeffrey, assistant creative producer at Glimpse, said: “It's a soft touch; it’s going to be fun and playful. If they ask us to leave then we are going to.”

The initial protest is part of a larger campaign from Glimpse and digital activists If Not Now, called “Inside Job”, which, over the next two years, aims to recruit young creatives to take part in mass creative action focused on climate change.

Glimpse commissioned YouGov research as part of the campaign, with 102 18- to 30-year-olds working in advertising, marketing, PR, and sales responding to the survey.

More than three in five young creatives said they were uncomfortable working with high-carbon clients, but only two in five said they would be comfortable refusing to work with the clients.

Ogilvy and Edelman did not respond to requests for comment and Wunderman Thompson declined to comment.

This article first appeared in Campaign.


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