Ads aren’t addressing climate change

April 22 was Earth Day, as a good a time as any to ask what brands are doing to communicate to their audience about climate change. The creative analytics platform CreativeX examined some 280,000 global ads to find out what brands are saying about climate change, and how their messaging varies by region.

The conclusion was that brands are missing an opportunity to engage consumers with effective ESG (environment, social and governance) messaging — at a time when consumers are ready to listen.

Few ads mention climate change. Although over 80% of respondents to a Global Consumer Confidence Survey, across age and gender, felt strongly that brands should help improve the environment, only 2% of the ads analyzed by CreativeX referred to positive climate initiatives.

Many brands do have a story to tell. PepsiCo, Heineken and Nestlé are just some of the high profile brands that have publicly challenged themselves to reduce emissions and reach other climate-related goals. There seems to be no reason not to communicate that story: research suggests consumers will pay more for environmentally friendly products and services.

Variations across industries and regions. Some brands do see a need to spread positive messages. The automotive industry, for example, is keen to talk about reduced emissions and electric vehicles. It leads industries in climate-related ad content, followed by fashion.

EMEA led regions with 3.7% of ads addressing climate-related topics, with France leading the region. Latin America had the lowest percentage, even though consumers are as deeply invested in environmental protection in that region as consumers in Europe.

Why we care. Hopefully it’s obvious why we care about the environment. But from a marketing perspective, it’s astonishing that brands are essentially leaving consumer good will on the table — in contrast to a very evident focus on diversity and inclusion in today’s ad strategies.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech Today. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.