Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's show time?

Many people don't know that Earth Hour was manifested by an ad agency.
In fact, back then even I didn't know the idea came from Leo Burnett Sydney.

This movement, this 'flick off your light switch for an hour to save earth' idea, was sticky to people my age. I remember my friends in Sydney being excited simply because they were curious of the city in darkness. This was during the bloom of social network, and many weren't as skeptical towards 'events' as they are now.

Earth Hour became the Dyson vacuum cleaner of awards, and the whole advertising industry supported it and pushed it globally. And indeed in the next 4 years, agencies around the world hopped on the bandwagon to win as many awards as possible: 'Heineken supports Earth Hour. Motorola supports Earth Hour. Your local deer hunter supports Earth Hour'. Bent image of a product becoming another product in the dark, tiny straight headline and logo. Done. Cannes finalist. Done.

At its peak, WWF even managed to get Shepard Farley (who also designed Obama's HOPE poster) to create postcards for EH. The postcard with its killer headline, 'Vote for Earth', had Farley's trademark illustration of a light switch heading into a ballot box.

So my question is: what now?

I googled Earth Hour today. Its official website reminded me of an energy provider, patronising me with information on how to recycle and fix my leaked tap. The countdown clock reminds me that it's 9 days before Earth Hour, and I'm actually confuzzled that no advertising blog, or facebook events, or friends reminding friends that it's happening that soon. Sure there's a toolbar to twit, facebook, digg, or do whatever you want to promote it, but I just don't feel excited anymore. It's pretty bleh. What irritates me the most, is the theme: It's Showtime.

It's Showtime.

Finally, the time has come for Earth Hour to take itself too seriously.

I'm not saying Earth Hour is created to win awards. Perhaps the financial crisis crippled their budget, perhaps people realised flicking a light switch once a year isn't doing much. But if I'm an agency and I found out EH is no longer a hit and the award faucet is getting turned off, I would probably think it's acceptable to go with a campaign based on 'It's Showtime'.