As we all know, climate change is an emotive issue. On both sides of the argument surrounding what is causing it, strong words are uttered. The sceptics have to shout loudly even to be heard, whereas on the other side, an industry has grown up promoting the thesis of man made climate change. A whole host of literature has been written outlining how and why it is taking place, and it is being used to good effect. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you are making a case you want to use the best evidence and the best arguments.
Except... When the government - sorry, taxpayer - funds a leaflet which doesn't concentrate on the actual case, but how to put it over you have to ask if that is what our money should be used for. Especially, when you read THIS leaflet called THE RULES OF THE GAME: Evidence Base Case for the Climate Change Communications Strategy. It is straplined "The Game Is Communicating Climate Change - The Rules Will Help Us Win It."
The tone of the doucment is revealed on its first page...
“Changing attitudes towards climate change is not like selling a particular brand of soap – it’s like convincing someone to use soap in the first place.”
It then moves on to more specific recommendations about how to "sell" the climate change message...
Click on the images to enlarge
Here are a few of those recommendations...
- Forget the climate change detractors: Those who deny climate change science are irritating, but unimportant. The argument is not about if we should deal with climate change, but how we should deal with climate change.
- There is no ‘rational man’: The evidence discredits the ‘rational man’ theory – we rarely weigh objectively the value of different decisions and then take the clear self-interested choice.
- Information can’t work alone: Providing information is not wrong; relying on information alone to change attitudes is wrong. Remember also that messages about saving money are important, but not that important.
- Use both peripheral and central processing: Attracting direct attention to an issue can change attitudes, but peripheral messages can be just as effective: a tabloid snapshot of Gwyneth Paltrow at a bus stop can help change attitudes to public transport.
- Link climate change mitigation to positive desires/aspirations: Traditional marketing associates products with the aspirations of their target audience. Linking climate change mitigation to home improvement, self-improvement, green spaces or national pride are all worth investigating.
- Use emotions and visuals: Another classic marketing rule: changing behaviour by disseminating information doesn’t always work, but emotions and visuals usually do.
This isn't just the use of traditional PR communications methods. It's the use of totalitarian indoctrination techniques designed to manipulate public opinion.
I wonder how much the taxpayer paid Futerra for this advice.