Noble Goals: Marketing the first-ever global cinema ad campaign

Cinemas Features

On Sept. 25, 2015, more than 190 world leaders at the United Nations adopted their “Global Goals” for a better world. If all 17 ambitious targets to end poverty, to fight inequality and injustice and to tackle climate change were met, they would “ensure the health, safety and future of the planet for Everyone on it,” the initiative states.

And the best chance for these “Global Goals for Sustainable Development” to be met? According to Richard Curtis, “Project Everyone” founder and filmmaker (Love Actually), that is to make Everyone aware of them. With this campaign, Curtis aimed to reach out far and wide to seven billion people during the seven days immediately following the release of the Global Goals. As we gather at ShowEast and/or read these lines, let us reflect on Everyone in this industry having done our share.

“The aim is to make these goals famous, and what better place to do that than on the big screen?” Film Journal International is talking with Cheryl Wannell, general manager of trade association SAWA, just three days prior to the campaign launch at AMC Empire in New York City. “Cinema educates, inspires and influences people by changing hearts and minds.” The Global Cinema Advertising Association is a founding partner in the initiative, she adds.

When Wannell met Curtis last year, he described his plans to spread the word about his Global Goals. “I suggested a global cinema to help promote the vision,” she recalls. After presenting the project during SAWA’s convention in Berlin last year, “we raised a significant buy-in and over half of the global members…committed to the initiative.” Additional presentations at CinemaCon and during the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity sealed the deal.

“Cinema is a powerful medium through which this message will have a huge impact,” noted Michael Sakin, president of Spotlight Cinema Network, a U.S. participant. “Our audience is made up of young, affluent and social-minded individuals with whom this campaign will surely resonate.” As president of sales and marketing at one of the companies that came onboard right at the start, National CineMedia’s Cliff Marks concurred. “To think that the UN chose our medium to most profoundly share their Global Goals with the same 60-second creative spot in movie theatres around the world speaks volumes.” Together with fellow member Screenvision, the Cinema Advertising Council brought both the awareness teaser spot (see it here) and main attraction (still under wraps at press time) to over 4,000 movie theatres.

Across the globe, 30 SAWA member countries committed to screening this “First Ever Cinema Ad” from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2 (the first seven days following the Goals’ release) and, wherever possible, continuing until the end of the year. While this represents truly international reach–from Japan to South Africa, from Finland to Oman–in view of ShowEast we are giving special attention to the participants from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Columbia, Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala. Additional credit goes to several of the technology and service providers. The spot was mixed in Dolby Atmos and Dolby 5.1, and Dolby Laboratories also provided technical support to SAWA at Cannes Lions, just as Barco lent its expertise and digital projectors, of course, and Finch brought in technical help and innovation. Cinime built the Global Goals app for Project Everyone and the United Nations that allows audiences to download and share the goals on iPhone and Android. Unique Digital, last but not least, has been mastering all the DCPs required.

On the creative side, the 60-second #WEHAVEAPLAN ad was animated by Aardman. Directed by advertising legend Sir John Hegarty, Liam Neeson and Michelle Rodriguez narrate (with a teaser by Nelson Mandela) and the music comes from Peter Gabriel. (Click here for a behind-the-scenes look.)

Thanks to Cheryl Wannell, we can share Hegarty’s take with our readers. He thought “we should celebrate and show the moment when the world said, ‘Yes, we will come together over this!’” While Hegarty called that “brilliant,” he also wondered how you put some drama into it. Wouldn’t it be great “to use every country’s national animal instead of the delegates, and show that they could come together? And if they can come together, then this shows that we can all do it…”

Thanks to one and all for doing their fair share.