The No Pressure film lasted all of about 12 hours on the internet. The overwhelmingly negative response pressured 10:10 to remove it, but the damage was done someone captured it from Youtube and within minutes of it being blocked it was up again through a different account. I think the real epic fail here was the response from 10:10, not the film itself.
Initially, with the flood of negative comments that came from both the climate change movement and the right-wing deniers, this seemed like an unmitigated disaster. Certainly through the narrow perspective of Youtube and Twitter, it was nothing short of a catastrophe.
The video was offensive on a number of levels, both to those inside and to many people outside the climate change ‘movement’. One of the perpetual problems with the whole 10:10 campaign is the emphasis that if we all ‘do our bit’ we can solve climate change. I am by no means the first to say that this is bollocks, George Marshall said it better than I will ever be able to. The common response to this is to say “but industry and governments are signed up too! Even e.on are part of it!” and that kind of illustrates the problem with it. If it is easy for e.on to be part of and still aim to build coal fired power stations, then it is clearly missing the point. It’s like BP saying “from now on we are going to use biodiesel in the boats that drill the oil wells”. This video is essentially saying “if you don’t do your bit we’ll track you down and kill you”. So maybe we can take the killing bit with a pinch of salt but the point is the same, they are delibertately putting the emphasis on individual action rather than where it needs to be; on governments and industry.
But I think an even bigger fail was the way that 10:10 seem to have handled the controversy around the video. So far all that has happened is they took the video down and posted an apology about it’s offensiveness. This did, however, take them the best part of a day to put it up, not the quickest response, nor the most effective. Far better it would have been to get out on Twitter and on the blogs and join in the conversation. Had 10:10 refused to be defeated, had they stood their ground and said “we’re sorry if you were offended, but the point of the film was to say that we need to act now to stop climate change” then they would have come out a lot stronger and they would have been able to change what people were talking about; from the shockingness of the film, to the issue it was trying to address.
Shocking films can work in campaigning, they definitely have their place but they have to be done right, NSPCC have had a few that have been very good. The problem is when the content becomes more shocking than the concept and that is what has happened in this case: the image of blowing children up is more disturbing than climate change.
It seems that this was an ill-conceived idea carried out poorly and to not have a plan for what to do if it all goes wrong is largely unjustifiable, given that this was a fairly predictable scenario. So I think it’s a fail for the film but an epic fail for the response.