This carbon-negative radio ad sounds odd, and that’s the point

A Swedish utility deployed a piece of diving equipment to prevent the voice actor’s carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere

Published On
Nov 28, 2023
A man recording a radio ad with a piece of diving equipment

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Humans emit a small amount of carbon dioxide every time we exhale. And while that may just be a small fraction of the gas that the world collectively produces—said to now be over 37 billion metric tons of CO₂ each year—our breaths still add up over time.

But now, in a (mostly symbolic) step to ease the impact of climate change, Swedish utility company Skellefteå Kraft is further reducing the carbon footprint of its marketing campaigns, partnering with Stockholm-based agency Volt to create the world’s first “carbon-negative” radio ad.

A voice actor was outfitted with a diving rebreather and instructed to deliver his lines only while inhaling, resulting in a halting speech pattern that’s bizarre, as he explains in the first 10 seconds. His exhaled breaths, which are audible, are funneled into a “contraption” that binds carbon dioxide to active lime powder, thus creating limestone and preventing the pollutant from reaching the Earth’s atmosphere.

Listen to the novel minute-long, English-language version of the ad here:


“Skellefteå Kraft has an ambition to be 100% renewable in everything we do and to create innovative products and services,” said Anki Högdahl, marketing communications manager at Skellefteå Kraft, which has a track record of also recycling video clips to make minimally impactful ads. “Therefore, it is also completely natural for us to continue exploring how the advertising we produce and broadcast can be as climate-smart as possible.”

Read also: 16 ad leaders working to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint

At its core, the spot amplifies Skellefteå Kraft’s commitment to renewable energy resources; most of its electricity is generated via hydro, according to the company’s website, with additional stakes in wind, nuclear and “bio-powered district heating.”

Broadcast nationally on more than a dozen Swedish radio stations, the radio ad is estimated to have captured about 470 mg of breathed carbon dioxide—which amounts to a little less than half a percent of the average person’s daily CO₂ output.


Nov 28, 2023
Client :
Skelleftea Kraft
Agency :
Volt - Stockholm
Account Director :
Toni Donelly
Agency Producer :
Susanna Svedjeholm
Creative :
Rojan Munthe
Creative :
Samuel Skwarski
Creative :
Kristoffer Wernald
Visualizer :
Jan Sjöberg
Visualizer :
Staffan Kjellvestad
Production Company :
Flickorna Larsson

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