The people’s march for climate is a large-scale campaign for a worldwide demonstration on September the 21th. The aim of the event is to mobilize large amounts of people to show people’s concern for climate change and put pressure on politicians before the COP21.
The communication strategy was based on the project of achieving “the largest mobilization the world has ever seen on climate change” (Avaaz website). How to mobilize people on a very large scale about climate change issues appeared as the main challenge.
The result was a very consensual, but extremely vague punch line. Avaaz, which is an online platform aiming at mobilizing world citizens about climate change and human rights issues, launched a large campaign on the theme of saving the planet, with the slogan : “To change everything, it takes everyone – Let’s get started !”.
The posters for advertising the event were designed along the same communication strategy. One of the most visible posters (Poster 1) shows two characters looking at the sky with big shining eyes. The people here are pictured as central; the characters’ faces occupy most of the space. The poster clearly aim at presenting characters anyone can relate to. The visibility of the posters in large-formats in subway stations contributes to the large-public strategy. The reference to climate change issues is rather discrete. The green hearts stand for the People’s March logo. Further, one could regret the lack of cleavage and the absence of precise political message. Everyone can be anyone – it can also be nobody in particular.
The second poster analyzed (Poster 2), put up in New York City as well as the first one, displays a more radical message. A drawing of the Statue of Liberty shrinking is accompanied by the Avaaz’s slogan and the title: “March to save the world”. Here, the message is more directly related to climate change and more “catastrophist”. Every single New Yorker is expected to see himself/herself in the shrinking Statue of Liberty, the most symbolic New York statue. At the same time, the idea of mobilizing to “save the world” broadens even more the scope of the possible target “causes”.
The diversity of communication campaigns through different posters displaying various messages about climate change mobilization reflects the desire to attract the largest possible number of people to the march. The underlying assumption here is not that people mobilize in order to save the world. People mobilize for very specific claims: LGBT rights, protection of the Amazonian forest, protests against meet consumption, etc. In this respect, the People’s Climate March Campaign was successful, as demonstrations in cities over the world gathered groups of various identities and claims. It managed to advertize anti-climate change activism as a popular cause which was not restricted to unknown and invisible ecologist activists. In this sense, the campaign rendered visible the popular and consensual character or climate change issues. However, a highly general and consensual message resulted in confused reactions and lacks of clarity as regard the common message that was displayed. It could be argued that visibility in this case was gained at the cost of clarity.