Idea of the Week

A Tree Gets Its Talking Points

EOS' Global Warming Campaign Highlights Local Air Quality

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What does a tree do all day? What is it thinking? What would it say if it could speak about its day? EOS, a popular science magazine in Brussels, sought to answer these questions in an unusual advertising campaign to stimulate discussion around climate change.

Creative agency Happiness Brussels tapped into a real tree's imagined voice by monitoring the weather and using real-time visuals. The Talking Tree was fitted with a whole range of accessories including a CO2 meter, a pH meter, a small wind turbine, a webcam, a decibel meter, an infrared camera and a thermometer. The information was processed by custom software and converted into phrases expressing the tree's "feelings" based on the environmental conditions.

The tree is now posting reflections on the web, such as: "I'm feeling really dizzy today; there are too many cars going by"; "The air is getting a bit dirty; do me a favor, take your bike"; and "This ozone concentration makes it difficult to do my job." The tree's sound bites, photos and videos appear on its site, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Soundcloud, a site more often devoted to music professionals collaborating on music.

Accompanying magazine and newspaper ads, email marketing and social media outreach are aimed at expanding the tree's following.

The campaign began in August and is scheduled to run at least one year.

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