Maybe if we all sing hard enough and ignore what's happening around us, the climate crisis will just go away.
Alas, such strategy falls short in an effects-driven, minute-long musical from sustainable energy provider E.ON U.K. and its creative agency, House 337.
The apocalyptic scenario brings fire, floods, fierce winds and lots of destruction. But the cast seems oblivious throughout. Which, of course, is the point. A version of '60s R&B thumper "Time Is on My Side"—made famous by the Rolling Stones—provides an appropriately ironic soundtrack.
Yes, it's OTT ridiculous and campy. But that's also the point—and there's a canny self-awareness at work, with category tropes upended in unexpected ways to enhance a compelling message.
"We knew the idea couldn't be finger pointy or preachy, or it wouldn't land well with the public," Ross Newton, creative director at House 337, tells Muse. "That's why we chose to create a bold musical with a twist."
"We've heard promises, pledges and presentations. We've heard all the rhetoric. But we've not seen enough action from us as a species," he says. "We wanted to highlight that a climate disaster is at our doorstep, and we can't just wait around for someone else to do something."
Agency planner Simon Butcher adds: "Many will say they intend to switch to sustainable energy solutions like solar panels. But that intention is almost always followed by 'I'll do it one day.'"
With that in mind, the spot, which dropped breaking last week, provides a wake-up call to homeowners, businesses and decision makers.
"For all the positive intention, we're collectively not responding to the climate crisis with the urgency it demands," Newton says. This work, through song and f/x, seeks "to make that 'one day' mentality a bit closer to today."
Though loaded with computer-generated graphics, the film strives for a level of authenticity. Led by director Hans Emmanuel, the team filmed each character in real locations before extended scenes in post-production.
The arctic guy "was shot on a stage covered in sand to create the natural texture of the tundra," Newton says. "We then expanded his environment in post, adding wind and an almighty great fissure in the ice."
The couple in the forest "were surrounded by real twigs, bark and various species of ferns to create that authentic British woodland look," he says. Though small fires were set, the main conflagration was achieved Bia CGI. "Needless to say, none of the plants were harmed during the shooting process."
And that teenage girl actually floated in a soundstage water tank. "So, the waves we see lapping against her mattress are completely real," Newton says.
As for the CEO/politician type who gets literally blown away ... that was mostly real. (More so than we initially imagined!)
Wind machines did much of the work, "then we used wires to pull her off the podium and into the eye of the tornado, and then to spin her around inside the vortex," Newton recalls.
"It was a lot of fun, but very hard to time her singing over the sound of the wind, so it took quite a few goes to properly nail it. Thankfully, the actress was a highly trained fitness instructor, so she had the core strength to keep going!"
Scott Somerville, Chief Marketing Officer E.ON UK
Agency: House 337
Creative Director Ross Newton
Senior Creative team Kenny Meek & Mary Johansen
Planners Simon Butcher, Abbey Gaunt
Account Management Kat Thompson, Olivia Conroy, Catia Fernandes Poon
Agency Producer Laura Melville
Agency Assistant Producer Trent Webster
Project Director Sophie Richaume
Design Aaron Pacey, Nick Dinnen, Matt Baines
Director/ Production Co. Hans Emmanuel / Familia
Local team Solent Film
Executive Producer Toby Walsham
Producer David Hay
Production Manager Natalie Uglow
Editor Giacomo Prestinari
Post Production Mathematic
Executive Producer Guillaume Audibet
Line Producer Roy Jamhouri
VFX Supervisor Romain Thibault
Music Massive Music
Sound Design Sam Ashwell at 750mph
DoP Román Martinez De Dujo
CGI & Retouching (DOOH visuals) King Henry