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Case Study - Possible

To reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, behavioural and policy change around car usage is key, but initiatives such as ULEZ have seen major backlash this year. Media Bounty project ACT Climate Labs partnered with Possible, an NGO enabling climate action on a local scale, to support their ‘Car-free Cities’ initiative in Birmingham.

Challenges

ACT and Media Bounty carried out In-depth research on ‘The Persuadables’, the 69% of Brits who believe climate change is happening but aren’t too engaged. This, as well as the expertise developed through working on advertising campaigns for NGOs, and bi-weekly reporting on misinformation trends, helped us outline the following challenges:

  • Influential vocal minorities in social media and news publications had built up strong negative sentiment towards traffic reduction schemes, jeopardising our opportunity to form positive opinion towards Possible’s ‘Car free Cities’ initiative.
  • Our first wave of Persuadable research uncovered how little mainstream audiences trust climate spokespeople, including activists, journalists, and NGOs. As Possible is a climate NGO this meant we needed to think carefully about who we featured in our campaign so that our message was well received.
  • With a small media budget, our campaign needed to adopt a cross-channel approach that would deliver trust towards Possible, and local relevance to the message.

Methodology

For this campaign the strategy team carried out additional ethnographic research in Handsworth, Birmingham, to better understand locals’ attitudes to cars and transport specifically. This informed a creative approach that employed hyper-local cues that created familiarity, and featured residents as trusted messengers delivering a benefits message.

Insight

Cars are deeply intertwined with notions of status and personal achievement, so it’s no surprise that campaigns asking people to give up their cars or diminish their quality of life provoke backlash. However, while people didn’t like the idea of driving less, they loved the benefits of streets with fewer cars in the streets: tighter communities, better health, and cleaner air.

Creative Approach

Instead of trying to convince people to reduce their car usage, ‘Bump into Brum’ showcased the social, health and community benefits of leaving the car at home: better air, health benefits, and the ability to socialize with the community. We featured local people from the Handsworth area and their quotes and what they loved about their city made the headlines of our ads, increasing relevance and trust. The shoot was also done in the local community with a photographer from Birmingham, and we were able to capture and include cultural hyper-local cues to boost familiarity of our ads.  

Media

Budget was split across 6 channels including trusted media (out of home like billboards and posters, press, buses) and digital media (social media, display, digital media) to maximise impact.

Results

Our use of positive messaging, local cast and cues led to a successful campaign both for Possible as a brand and for changing transportation behaviour for the better:

  • We saw a 40% uplift in people agreeing with the statement “Neighbourhoods should be for people, not cars”.
  • People became more receptive to the idea that “having fewer cars is a good idea” from 61% agreement before, to 70% after the campaign ran.
  • All the ads had great creative feedback. The top three words to describe them being interesting (52%), informative (47%) and relatable (39%).
  • Positive brand associations towards Possible increased 27%
  • 66% of people who related to the campaign were more likely to consider changing their behaviour to tackle the climate crisis in the next 6 months.
  • 68% agreed that using people from Birmingham and featuring elements of the city boosted the relatability of the campaign.