What does a tree do all day? What is it thinking? What would it say if it could speak about its day? EOS, a popular science magazine in Brussels, sought to answer these questions in an unusual advertising campaign to highlight and stimulate discussion around climate change. The campaign aims to engage the magazine's diverse audiences in a debate on urgent environmental issues including climate change and invite users to take action to reduce their ecological footprint.
Creative agency Happiness Brussels tapped into the tree's voice by monitoring the weather and using real-time visuals. To drive the conversation the Talking Tree benefits from a whole range of accessories on which to draw for information to start and continue conversations with people; a CO2 meter, pH meter, a small wind turbine, webcam, DB-meter, accelerometer, infrared camera and a thermometer. The information was processed by bespoke software and converted into phrases expressing the tree's feelings and experiences based on the environmental conditions such as: "I'm feeling really dizzy today, there are too many cars going by", "The air is getting a bit dirty. Do me a favour, take your bike" and "This ozone concentration makes it difficult to do my job". The tree will also post sound bites, photos and videos.
The viral strategy, social media outreach and the activated broader environments, were all aimed at opinion leaders to influence their followers to sign up to the Talking Tree on Twitter. This was supported by print ads in magazines and newspapers and email marketing. EOS outlets were underpinned with advertising on national and regional newspapers and glossy magazines including De Standaard, Gazet von Antwerpen, PC Magazine and Scientific American. The campaign culminated with an EOS "Low Impact Month" in November 2010 designed to encourage additional effort in reducing personal environmental footprints. Users could measure their carbon footprint using ECOLife, a footprint calculator and sign up to receive a roadmap on how to shrink their footprint by adapting their food, mobility, heating, electricity, waste and water consumption.
Gregory Titeca, creative director and head of R&D at Happiness Brussels, said: "Talking Tree has its
Koen De Buck, commercial director at EOS Magazine, said: "Nature is suffering from pollution in our cities and by letting everyone know exactly how the Tree is feeling about the world around it today, it will get people thinking about Nature's viewpoint on how we are treating the world we share."
"We wanted to move away from the traditional monologue advertising and create something that would enable us to add value and engage our readers on a common journey to reduce our footprints through a platform they are familiar with, like and trust."
The Talking Tree shares "feelings" on Twitter such as, 'Doing photosynthesis in the morning is a great start to the day". And people can also follow the tree's activities on Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube, Flickr and its website talking-tree.com. As a result of this unusual campaign, the tree is listed 20 times on Twitter, with 867 followers and 3990 Facebook friends.