Reality campaign's first ad (updated)

Reality. This is the name of a new campaign by the combined might of the Sierra Club, the Alliance for Climate Protection, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the League of Conservation Voters that was officially launched yesterday. Its aim is to oppose all the bogus “clean coal” advertising that the coal companies, and their mouthpiece the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, are running. It’s called “Reality” because, as the ad says “in reality, there is no such thing as clean coal.”

Here are the campaign’s first ads: the print ad is at right, the TV ad is behind the cut. Click on the print ad to see a larger, readable version. Do the two ads work? Do you get them? Will others? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

13 replies »

  1. I really like this – it’s funny (love the plaintive cry of the vulture in the background) and humor is always a nice way to stick it to your opponent. Gotta call the industry’s BS or weak-kneed politicians will find a way to avoid making the tough (read, right) decisions.

    PS – I thinks it’s the “Natural” Resource Defense Council, not “National”

  2. I love that they’re doing something to help frame the argument, but the TV ad is a little vague until you get to the end. I know that’s part of their design, but my first reaction was wondering if the plant is built underground or something. When the printed words explain it, it makes sense, but knowing peoples attention span, I don’t know if it gets an A+ from me. Maybe a B, or B+. Definitely happy someone’s doing something to present the intelligent viewpoint.

  3. I think the print ad works great. Getting a photo of a mountaintop removal mine site (aka “moonscape”) might have been better, but no biggy. But I think the TV spot would have been more effective if they’d had an empty warehouse or industrial area with no machinery.

    Still, it’s awesome to see that some of the big, deep-pocketed environmental groups are directly confronting the myth of clean coal. It’s been too long that the ACCCE and their coal company backers have had the mediaspace all to themselves. I’ll forgive a multitude of minor sins (like imperfect ads) to have Reality up and running.

  4. I don’t know. As a guy who really doesn’t know much about this topic, I guess I am kinda the target audience and the ads don’t hit me at all. To me they are vague and that makes me think….”political agenda” as opposed to facts.

    I am more interested in their message after seeing this blog post on S&R, but I’m still skeptical.

    The best ads of this genre, in my opinion, where done by T. Boone Pickens. They seemed straightforward and to the point with a clear goal and a link to the website. Tricky ads with cute message may appeal to people on an emotional level, which may spur an already bveliever into action, but if somone is on the other side of the fence they will view it as a load of crap. Not being mean….just stating facts.

    To actually change minds you need facts. I still don’t know why clean coal is impossible. I guess they just want me to trust them.

  5. Well, i don’t get it. I understand the argument, i just don’t see how the visuals of the ads convey the argument.

    More importantly, i think that you have to give a viable alternative in a campaign like this. Too many people are likely to say, “yeah, clean coal is bullshit, but what else can we do?.”

  6. Woulda worked if they had vaperware machinery. Basically the whole factory disappearing into vapor as he talked, leaving that desertscape behind.

  7. BTW- I checked out the website. To me it is equally unimpressive. The message I get from this group is “Clean Coal plants do not exist” but I don’t see much in the way of the “can not exist”. Much different angles.

  8. Bob, If you look at the ACCCE’s messaging, it’s basically that coal is clean and getting cleaner. The problem is that coal isn’t clean and won’t be able to get cleaner anytime soon. Certainly not soon enough to do any good on the climate disruption front (especially with just “voluntary” reductions). My co-blogger Wendy Redal’s pieces on mountaintop removal coal mining is one of the more egregious reasons that coal can’t be called “clean” even if the power plants could scrub 100% of all sulfur, mercury, lead, cadmium, et al out of the flue gases (which they can’t).

    And it doesn’t help that the pollution reductions that the ACCCE is trumpeting were forced on coal plants by the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and coal-using utilities are fighting tooth and claw to avoid having to add new technology to existing plants. Not exactly clean.

    So that’s the basic subtext, but the general comment here is that people aren’t getting the ads, and that’s not a good sign. Everyone gets the clean coal ads, even though they’re stuffed fuller than a Turducken with lies and half-truths. The Reality campaign really aught to target people like you, Bob, and with messaging that convinces you logically as well as hits your emotions

    And as I’ve suggested, there’s plenty of both logic and emotion out there to make the ads more effective than the first one. Let’s see what happens when they come out with ad #2, shall we?

  9. Sigh. I’m tired of people going on stupid crusades.

    I don’t work for the coal industry, but I’ve worked IN it, and I’ve seen how coal plants have been dumping billions of dollars into reducing emissions. I know that many coal plants in Missouri, for instance, use low-sulfur coal from Wyoming for cleaner burning. I know that coal is a cheap and abundant source of energy within the United States. People say that coal isn’t clean, like we’re dumping pollutants into the air just as badly as a coal plant from the turn of the 20th century, but the truth is that coal is MUCH cleaner than that. And it’s getting cleaner still (and will continue to do so).

    I also know that coal provides almost 60% of the electricity for the whole country, including the cameras and equipment these blowhards used to film this commercial, and the millions of TV sets that waste the minds of the people watching these ads.

    You’ll have to forgive me, I’m still mad about the misinformation and misguided intentions that created the unfounded and unnecessary hysteria over nuclear plants that left us 40 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to nuclear power, an energy source that happens to be cheaper, cleaner, and safer than coal and is now underused in our country.

    In essence, coal gets pushed forward because scores of uneducated, ignorant idiots with nothing better to do decided to set us back by making a fuss about nuclear energy, and now the same ignoramuses are trying to get us to stop using coal? Awesome. Talk about wasting money and resources.

  10. To the previous poster, Adam. You should try visiting us ignoramuses here in Kentucky. We love how our rivers are covered with sludge, are homes are destroyed, and are children are killed in their sleep by boulders rolling down mountainsides from blasting. I’m glad your around to tell use how great it all is. I love mountain top removal. I think all ignoramuses do. I agree nuclear…i’m sorry…nuke ya ler…. is something we should look into. There is plenty of misinformation on both sides, but you should consider people that are directly affected before slinging sludge.