The fight against climate change in the U.S. is getting billions of VC dollars for tech innovation, the attention of presidential candidates, and game-changing legislation. So what else could it possibly need? Better advertising, at least according to Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore.
Gore is working with the non-profit Alliance for Climate Protection to launch a $300 million, three-year-long ad campaign that advocates carbon-reducing policies, according to the Washington Post. The group, which was founded by Gore, has just put its first ad online; the “We” campaign is also slated to launch Wednesday on TV. One spot will supposedly feature the bizarre duo of Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton bonding over climate change policy — and that will convince…?
That is a whole lotta funding for a public advocacy campaign, and tops annual spending for anti-smoking and anti-drug campaigns. Gore himself is donating his salary from his Kleiner Perkins VC gig (but not his stock options, noted the AP), as well as his prize winnings and the proceeds from both his book and his documentary; the WaPo estimates Gore’s donation at around $2.5 million, and the rest will come from private contributors.
The Alliance for Climate Protection has also worked with Gore’s cable TV venture Current TV to get viewers to make and submit “ecospots” (short, global warming-themed videos). Guess the whole user-generated thing wasn’t really gaining the kind of viewership Gore wanted, and so now he’s turning to the professionals. We’ll see if they fare any better, and if the $300 million ends up being a good investment or not.
For all you cleantech startups out there, if this campaign is successful, it could go a long way to convincing policy makers and the public that we need that carbon legislation on which you’re banking your futures.