Citing Generation Z as “this country’s largest swing state,” more than 250 high school valedictorians and senior speakers in more than 134 U.S. cities and 24 states each devoted 60 seconds of their graduating speeches this spring to a call for climate action, thanks to a new campaign recently launched by a coalition of 17 ad agencies.
“In the next four years, 17 million of us will be eligible to vote,” the pledge states. “That makes Generation Z this country’s largest swing state. Not red, not blue, but human. And together we have the power to shape the world we want to live in. So today I’m pledging to vote on three basic human rights: equality across race, gender, and sexual orientation; safety from gun violence; and action on climate change. If you care about the world we’re inheriting, I encourage you to take the pledge with me. Together we can create a healthier, safer, brighter America. We are the adults now.”
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The pledge was one component of the Donate:60 campaign the 17 agencies launched through a new non-profit, Potential Energy, founded by Lippincott Chief Strategy Officer John Marshall. Fast Company says the 60-second segment was initially intended to focus entirely on climate change, but the agencies added equality and gun violence after finding out what other issues the students would want to address.
“The idea for the coalition came after Marshall’s son took a course by Harvard’s Director for the Center for the Environment Dan Schrag, and couldn’t understand why more people weren’t aware of the solutions for the climate-energy challenge,” writes Fast Company Staff Editor Jeff Beer. “The disconnect between what he was learning and what was part of the public climate debate showed him that climate change had a marketing issue, a topic his advertising exec dad knew a bit about. While many agencies have worked on one-off PSA campaigns, the elder Marshall is bullish on what they can do together.”
“Climate change is a uniquely large and complex problem, and as such needs uniquely new approaches. It is also big enough to accommodate multiple players,” Marshall said. “As the saying goes, two minds are better than one. In our case, we have the best talent from 17 different agencies bringing their unique skills and processes to get to better creative outcomes.”
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