Happy Earth Day, your house is on fire!
In this 60-second spot from Greta Thunberg's Fridays for Future environmental group, a typical family goes about its morning routine—making breakfast, chatting at the kitchen table, etc.—blissfully unaware that flames are igniting all around them as smoke fills every room:
"Our house is on fire. React," the ad says at the end, channeling the words of teenage activist Thunberg, who last year told the Davos World Economic Forum: "I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is." (In March, she returned to the conference and reiterated: "Our house is still on fire.")
"We believe it's time people realize that climate change isn't going to happen, but that it's already happening," says Fridays for Future U.S. organizer Joe Hobbs. "We hope that by watching this video, people will realize they need to take action now, instead of putting it off until later."
Developed with creative agency FF Los Angeles and Ways & Means director Andrew Bruntel, the PSA's incendiary metaphor could blaze especially bright on Earth Day 2020, with millions around the world tethered to their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With many industries and most travel at a standstill, carbon emissions have fallen off, but Fridays for Future fears that government efforts to cut environmental regulations and jump-start the global economy will accelerate pollution in the coming months. The group advocates a "radical response" to climate change moving forward, driven home with the same urgency as the world's efforts to fight the coronavirus. Toward that end, on Friday, the organization's YouTube page will host a 24-hour livestream conference featuring speakers and content from around the world.
"Pandemics and climate change are similar and share many of the same attributes," FF founders Fred Raillard and Farid Mokart tell Muse. "We need to fight both crises with the same strength. The long-term consequences of climate change will certainly be even more dramatic than coronavirus."
They add: "We are all facing climate change, and all nations need to take action to make it stop. The spot demonstrates just how ridiculous it is to stay in denial. Our goal is to reinforce the actions of the people who believe in climate change, but also to start a discussion for those who still don't believe it."
Produced two months ago in Los Angeles, the actors portraying the family worked on sets and locations free of flame. Later, the team shot fire footage in a controlled environment. Method VFX combined those elements during post production.
FF previously worked with Fridays for Future last year on a poster series that showed tourist sites ravaged by global warming.
"Our House Is On Fire"
Brand: Fridays for Future
Brand Supervisor: Joe Hobbs
Creative Agency: FF Los Angeles
Chief Creative Officers: Fred & Farid
Copywriter: Radouane Guissi
Art Directors: Radouane Guissi, Chelsea Steiger
Agency Supervisor: Jules Chaffiotte
Agency Producer: Amanda Van Caneghem
Production Company: Ways & Means
Executive Producer: Lana Kim & Jett Steiger
Producer: Shawn Loh
Director: Andrew Bruntel
Director of Photography: Pat Scola
Casting Director: Hayley Simpson
Production Designer: Robert Fox
Wardrobe Stylist: Laura Francis
Hair & Make Up: Mira Cho
Editorial: Exile Edit
Editor: Kyle Brown
Sound Design / Mix: Colin Alexander
Visual Effects: Method Studios
VFX Executive Creative Director: Ben Walsh
Lead Flame Artist: Matt Welch
VFX Executive Producer: Scott Boyajan
VFX Senior Producer: Pip Malon