In an effort to raise awareness of alternative, renewable energy sources, agency Mark & Phil is offering people a chance to try out a few oil spills of their own. The viral video allows people to make their own virtual oil spills on the web, showing oil billowing across web pages until it swallows the screen.
The complimentary spill is the first effort promoting A Cleaner Future, a partnership between Mark & Phil and postproduction house Greener Media to encourage people to find out more about clean energy sources.
"It's us getting on our soapbox to get people thinking about cleaner energies out there," says Daniel Schutzsmith, creative director and co-founder of Mark & Phil.
To create your own oil spill, go to instantoilspill.com and type in the URL of the website you want to "contaminate." The site will appear with oil gushing and starting to spread. At the end, a random inspirational quote appears and the user is encouraged to learn more and share the site with a friend.
In its first week, 280,000 unique visitors have created almost 500,000 virtual oil spills.
"On the first day it gained a lot of momentum from the oddest places, like some blog in Sweden and the Netherlands," Schutzsmith says. "We haven't had that much momentum in America, which is the weirdest thing. The point is not just to be humorous, but to make people think for a second."
This video is the first in a series designed to get people's attention on the issue of alternative energy. Greener Media is also working on a documentary about the communities most affected by the Gulf Oil spill.
"We're trying to spread awareness about alternative energies," says Schutzsmith, who initially learned a lot about the topic when he worked with Greenpeace. "When I talk to my neighbors or I talk to my parents, they have no clear idea of what's happening. This is to open it up to the general public."