U.N. Campaign Urges People to 'Seal the Deal'

Global PSAs Push for Action on Climate Change

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A United Nations public service program is asking people to sign an online petition through SealtheDeal2009.org, urging world leaders to take action on climate change when they meet for the U.N.'s global summit that starts Dec. 7 in Copenhagen.

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The PSAs, available for online viewing or for broadcast, were shot in six locations across four continents and were directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, co-writer of "The Day After Tomorrow," a science fiction film depicting the catastrophic effects of global warming.

The U.N. effort features actor and producer Don Cheadle, Animal Planet presenter Philipe Cousteau, wildlife filmmaker Saba Douglas-Hamilton, U.N. messenger of peace Midori Goto, Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai and Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed.

The campaign encourages viewers to go to SealtheDeal2009.org to sign the online petition and learn more about climate change and its catastrophic effects on the planet and its inhabitants.

The production team was recruited by Lisa Rolls Hagelberg, consulting information officer with the United Nations Environment Programme, who worked in advertising for 10 years in the U.S., including a stint on the international Burger King children's account at Ammirati Puris Lintas. Ms. Hagelberg, who is also owner and safari guide for VirginBush Safaris in Kenya, drew on her years of experience in advertising to put together a strong team.

"When we [started] conceiving elements for the 'Seal the Deal' campaign, we knew it was critical to attract the attention of the media in order to maximize our exposure and chances of securing pro bono ad space," she says. "We made the strategic decision to try and recruit as many high-profile experts and celebrities as possible to support the campaign and appear in the spots. I decided to reach out to my former colleagues who had the creative expertise to help attract this sort of talent and to produce spots that would stand out from the usual 'talking heads' PSA format."

She contacted Mr. Nachmanoff, whom she had worked with while at Ammirati, because she knew he was interested in climate change. He, in turn, brought in Michele Abbott of Road Trip Films as producer. Both took on the project on a pro bono basis.

"We designed the spots to be a montage of experts in captivating locations to dramatically demonstrate the broad relevance of climate change and utilized time-lapse sequences to express the urgency of the appeal," Ms. Hagelberg says. "We produced the spots in traditional formats as well as documentary segments with more personal appeals from the experts."

The PSAs have been getting picked up around the world. Outlets running the spots include Algerian TV; Discovery Channel and PBS in the U.S.; Egyptian TV; Jordanian TV; Maldives TV; National Geographic, TV2Sport and Viasat in Denmark; NDTV in India; and SABC in South Africa. In addition, the campaign is being promoted through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Speaking about the project, Mr. Nachmanoff said: "Climate change is such a pervasive and persistent challenge that it's difficult to get people to focus on it constructively. The Copenhagen conference represents a specific moment in time, and is an opportunity for action. My hope is that this campaign will encourage people to increase public pressure on world leaders to seize that opportunity."

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