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Déjà viewed

8 December, 2023

It’s less than three weeks until Christmas, and we’ve all been with the barrage of new ads released  by companies convincing you to buy their wares. Amidst this advertising avalanche, Mars Inc., owner of many of your favourite confectionary brands, surprised us with a twist. Last week, Mars launched its Healthy Planet Productions campaign, recycling fan-favourite ads from years gone by to make a point about the carbon impact of advertising and get new messages across to consumers about climate change.

The advertising industry is a big emitter, from the emissions generated during production of the ads themselves to the energy used to distribute and consume them across both physical and digital platforms. A single ad campaign alone can generate around 323 tonnes of CO2, equivalent of around 160 return flights from Paris to New York. And that’s without getting into the impact of advertised emissions, with one study suggesting advertising is responsible for a 28% hike in the carbon footprint of the average consumer because of its impact on spending patterns. As with every industry, advertising needs to reduce its impact. Our friends at Ad Net Zero have set out a 5 point plan to help advertisers cut their emissions, from reducing the direct emissions from their business operations, to cutting emissions from production, distribution and events, and harnessing the power of ads to drive behaviour change.

While not addressing all these challenges, Mars’ recycled ads slash emissions at the production stage. And they have a dual purpose, connecting to the final action point in Ad Net Zero’s plan to leverage ads for behaviour change. By reworking the ads, Mars aims to spread the word about its efforts to tackle its emissions and connect with its consumers on climate issues.

We like Mars’ unusual approach to advertising with its message about the impact of the industry (especially topical at this time of year), and efforts to engage with its consumers on climate. While it may seem like a gimmick, it’s doing what advertising is meant to do – draw attention to something. And in this case, something very important indeed.

By Lucy Bell

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