Gore and Y&R send out an SOS

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Al Gore has enjoyed a lot of well-deserved attention from his book and documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, and now he's stepped up his environmental crusade to rock star levels, joining forces with producer Kevin Wall of Live 8 fame, to launch the fundraiser known as Live Earth. The event will feature a series of concerts in major cities around the world on July 7, to be broadcast live on television and on MSN.com. To promote the effort, Gore and Wall teamed up with Y&R/Chicago, which helped to focus the efforts around a centralized promotional theme, "SOS: A Campaign for a Climate in Crisis," where SOS also stands for "Save Our Selves."

"They knew they were going to be doing a concert, but they wanted to express it in a bigger way, a larger platform," says Y&R/Chicago CCO Mark Figliulo. One key component of the campaign is a Frank Budgen-directed spot, featuring vignettes of people from all walks of life performing the Human-scored SOS anthem. The spot recently debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, where it opened a series of short films by various directors addressing the Live Earth cause.

Among those were an animated short directed by Bent Images' Chel White, and a hilarious Spinal Tap reunion, conceived by Y&R and written/directed by Rob Reiner. In it, the original band members reconvene to write a song about global warming, which, Figliulo says, Spinal Tap will also be performing live in London on concert day. As for what it's like to work with Gore—whom the agency recently lined up to speak at an event in Cannes, "At one point he and I were in a heated debate—should we talk about it this way or that way?" Figliulo says. "Then a little voice went off in my head: Who do you think you are, arguing with Al Gore about the environment? So I decided to shut up and listen for a change. He knows his stuff and he also knows enough about our industry and marketing to use it to his advantage."
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