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Publishers boost climate change coverage as the issue takes the world stage



Publishers boost climate change coverage as the issue takes the world stage

The countdown to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) — arguably the most significant meeting of world leaders to discuss climate change since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 — is underway, and publishers want to capitalize that attention with a boost in coverage leading up to the major summit.

Last week’s Climate Week in the U.S. — a series of speeches, awards, presentations and protests organized by The Climate Group — coincided with the United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York City to discuss the critical issue of climate change around the globe. The COP26 conference, which will be held in Glasgow in November, will focus on countries’ plans to cut carbon emissions. The topic is urgent: July 2021 was determined to be the hottest month on Earth in 142 years of record-keeping. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said recent climate data signifies a “code red for humanity.”

The Media and Climate Change Observatory — which publishes monthly updates of media attention to climate change or global warming — found that coverage of these issues in August 2021 was the highest in more than a decade. However, climate change coverage is lagging in the U.S.

U.S. print coverage of the issue was down 0.2% and TV coverage decreased 10% in August 2021 compared to the previous month. It’s unclear how coverage is defined — including whether it includes full stories on the topic or only mentions.

While there is still work to be done, some media companies have invested in new climate verticals in the past year. Financial Times’ Climate Capital hub launched in January, for example, and Bloomberg Green went live last year. A new digital publication called Cipher dedicated to covering the climate crisis will launch on Sept. 29, backed by a climate advocacy group called Breakthrough Energy, created by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.

Below is a round-up of what publishers are working on ahead of COP26. 

Key details:

  • Bloomberg and FT will lift their paywalls around COP26.
  • The Economist is launching a climate-focused podcast, brand campaign and week-long event.
  • Group Nine’s NowThis and Seeker publications’ climate coverage has attracted a large audience in the last year.
  • Condé Nast offices in London, Germany, Italy and Spain have transitioned to 100% renewable energy.


The October issue of Bloomberg Green’s print magazine will feature a dedicated special section on COP26. Climate vertical Bloomberg Green will lift its paywall and provide free access to its content throughout the duration of COP26. It will also host multiple live events the week of Nov. 8.

On Sept. 20, Bloomberg Green’s daily newsletter used the start of Climate Week to report on the progress in global climate talks. Bloomberg Green also published a guide to the metals that are fueling the global clean-energy boom last week. Additionally, it released a Bloomberg Quicktake video of Bloomberg’s Akshat Rathi explaining climate anxiety and climate whiplash, and Bloomberg TV’s David Westin interviewed John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate on Wednesday.

Condé Nast

Condé Nast is perhaps the most ambitious when it comes to media companies’ impact on the environment. It is working on becoming a carbon neutral company by 2030. As of September 2021, its offices in London, Germany, Italy and Spain have transitioned to 100% renewable energy, according to Alice Pilia, senior policy advisor at Condé Nast, who oversees sustainability efforts across the company. Condé Nast is exploring transitioning its offices in other markets to renewable energy sources, such as in France and India, Pilia said. Condé Nast has reduced its single-use plastic packaging (specifically, its magazine plastic wrapping) by 82% and is on track to get to 90% by the end of the year.

The Economist

Two weeks ago, the industry body Science Based Target initiative approved The Economist’s goal to cut carbon emissions by at least 25% by 2025. The Economist will debut an eight-episode, climate change-focused podcast on Sept. 27 called “To a Lesser Degree,” hosted by global energy & climate innovation editor Vijay Vaitheeswaran. This week, The Economist is launching a brand campaign to market its editorial climate change coverage in digital, print and audio. The week of Oct. 25, The Economist’s editorial team will publish a special report on what it will take to stabilize the climate. The Economist is also hosting a virtual summit from Oct. 4 through 7 called “Sustainability Week: Countdown to COP26,” which will feature global corporations, policymakers and investors who are committed to reversing climate change.

Financial Times

Nov. 3 will be “FT Open Day,” when the publication’s paywall lifts to provide readers with free access. This year, the date was chosen to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, when demand for climate-related reporting “will be heightened,” said Marie Goddard, FT’s director of customer marketing. (During the 2019 Open Day, traffic to FT was 25% higher than normal; the FT did not have an Open Day last year.) Since the launch of the FT’s climate hub Climate Capital in January, the FT’s page views of climate content have more than doubled, according to Goddard.

Marie Claire U.K.

Marie Claire U.K. recently published a guide on COP26, with recommendations on how readers can get involved. Marie Claire U.K.’s Sustainability vertical has seen traffic grow 351% year over year, according to the company, and launched its Sustainability Awards in July. James Nieves, head of U.S. trade marketing at Marie Claire UK’s parent company Future Plc, said advertisers supporting the publisher’s sustainability and climate coverage are in the CPG, QSR, automotive and beauty and fashion categories.

The New York Times

“The New York Times Climate Hub” will be a nine-day event held in Glasgow and virtually, alongside COP26. It’s the first event of this scale for The Times, according to a spokesperson. It will feature more than 70 events — including panel discussions, workshops, community-curated sessions and film screenings — on COP26 negotiations, the future of biodiversity, personal e-commerce footprints and the role of democracy in climate action. On Sept. 23, The New York Times hosted a virtual event with Times journalists and experts for the latest episode of “Netting Zero” to discuss the future of international air and shipping freight and how to reduce the carbon footprint of trade. On Sept. 20, culture reporter Cara Buckley joined the Times’ Climate desk to cover stories on scientists, entrepreneurs and policy makers working to improve the environment. 


NowThis’ climate coverage drew 600 million video views last year. In addition to daily coverage of COP26 for NowThis Earth, its climate-focused vertical, the publisher will produce explainers breaking down the event for its young audience.


Views on Earth and conservation content from Seeker grew 80% year over year in 2021, according to the publisher. More than half of Seeker audiences (55%) say climate change and the environment is their most pressing political issue, according to the results of a 2020 study by Seeker. Seeker curated a climate-focused playlist on YouTube with a dozen Seeker videos for Climate Week.

The Washington Post

The Washington Post hosted a virtual conversation with conservationist Jane Goodall on Sept. 22, where she discussed her expectations for the COP26 summit. The Post recently announced Maxine Joselow will author the new “Climate 202” newsletter covering climate policy that is slated to launch in early October. 


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The 2021 Digiday Awards Shortlist



The 2021 Digiday Awards Shortlist

New audiences, inclusivity and reemergence from quarantine became the backbeat of this year’s Digiday Awards shortlist

In what is still a time of uncertainty, with some parts of the world navigating a great reopening and other parts grappling with COVID-19 variants and limited vaccine access (or adoption), the nature of consumer behavior is constantly changing. However, digital media and marketing persist, and the nature of the ecosystems in which they work is now a part of the everyday fabric of the job. As always, the creative teams that drive campaigns for publishers and advertisers adapt. 

The latest installment of the Digiday Awards acknowledges the evolution of an industry, one that has not only transformed because of the pandemic and quarantines but one that has shifted in other profound ways as well. The sweeping calls for advocacy and inclusion have also shaped what the Digiday Awards judges have before them, in October 2021, as does an ongoing industry-wide shift to represent — and reach — younger demographics in the developing spaces they work and play (specifically, mobile and online games). 

Finalists found their gamers in 2021 campaigns

Take, for example, Excedrin, a double Digiday Awards finalist for Best Multi-Platform campaign and Best Strategy Pivot. Working with Weber Shandwick, the pain reliever’s program in 2021—  “Game Over for Headaches” — broke through to a new audience by leveraging influential streamers in the gaming space. Excedrin partnered with Twitch to create original content that spoke authentically to gamers. The outcome for the campaign was heightened earned coverage and positive consumer attention, and ultimately “Game Over” became the start of meaningful business results. 

To be sure, Mtn Dew is no stranger to gamers, with its “Game Fuel” slogan securely a part of console culture. As the PepsiCo brand worked with OMD, the media agency fused the caffeinated beverage with game influencer messaging that foregrounded authenticity and premium content. John Cena, professional wrestler and actor, helmed the launch of Mtn Dew Major Melon, the brand’s first new flavor in more than a decade, driving interest in the runup to the 2021 Super Bowl and highlighting in-game sweepstakes across every major social media channel. The campaign drove significant sales in Q1 and garnered OMD triple-finalist status in the Digiday Awards — Best Use of Influencer Marketing, Best Product Launch Campaign and Most Innovative Media Agency. 

Brands and media companies maintained the inclusivity beat

From deodorants to swimwear, from soft drinks to cinema, advertisers, media companies and their partners continued to push for expanded representation in their 2021 campaigns.

Degree showcased inclusive design that made its deodorant product accessible to people with different upper-limb abilities and differently sighted individuals. Their campaign told truthful and courageous stories and highlighted how other brands and companies could successfully implement similar changes to their product designs. The ‘Degree Inclusive’ campaign is shortlisted for Best Product Launch Campaign.

Amazon Studios connected with Imprint Projects and put voter suppression in the spotlight in 2021. ‘All In for Voting’ included documentary films, an experiential roadshow, and a multi-platform awareness campaign. It touched down at 55 brand-hosted voter registration events and 21 outdoor film screenings in disenfranchised communities. The effort earned Amazon and Imprint a spot among the finalists for Best Multi-Platform campaign.

Body inclusivity and alternatives to hyper-sexualized swimwear were the driving themes behind Summersalt’s ‘Every Body is a Summersalt Body’ campaign. Featuring two dozen accomplished women, the messaging showcased a spectrum of sizes, different sizes, backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and sexualities to demonstrate that every single body belongs in a suit of its choosing. Summersalt is shortlisted for best Branding Campaign B2C in the Digiday Awards.

Finally, The Coca-Cola Company activated its Sprite brand to make a statement supporting social justice and Black Lives Matter. Partnering with Havas Atlanta, Moxi, and industry influencers, the program gave $50,000 to influencers to give to the causes of their choice. The brand also hosted a series of virtual performances by artists called “Sprite Way” — the shows also gave back, donating funds to independent performance venues via Save Our Stages. The campaign stands among finalists for Best Strategy Pivot.

As cities and travel reopened, campaigns centralized support and safety

With storefront businesses deeply impacted during quarantines, as HBO Max brought on-site film productions back online, they did so with an eye on helping local vendors benefit from having their locales featured on audiences’ screens. Dropping giant purple pins with QR codes near the stores filmed on and around locations for its film “In the Heights,” customers could scan the codes and redeem rewards from the local businesses. Complete with a micro-site to help people find the pins, the campaign wrapped with a spot on the Digiday Awards shortlist for Best Multi-Platform Campaign.

Expedia knows travel, and as the world cautiously returns to the roads, the air and destinations, the full-service travel site provided inspiration and tips to give travelers confidence in their plans. They also replicated superstar Joe Jonas’s hand and distributed 500 of the exact replicas for those who might need a little actual hand-holding on their first trip after quarantine. The campaign, in turn, handed Expedia a finalist spot for Best PR Campaign.

Check out the full shortlist below as we wait for the judges’ decisions on all the Digiday Awards finalists.

Best Creative

Tapjoy and Bully Pulpit Interactive – The Biden/Harris 2020 Presidential Campaign

Comedy Central

Verizon and Madwell – The Reset

Land Rover and Outside


Known and Shift4 – Inspiration4

Best Collaboration

SHISEIDO and Dentsu Inc. – “Camellia” The brand film we didn’t shoot

Pepsi, NFL and Roc Nation – Super Bowl LV Halftime Show

Genero and Nespresso – Nespresso Talents

Fox News Media and Tunnel to Towers Foundation – Memorial Day Special Branded Content

INNOCEAN USA and Hyundai Motor America – The Un-Adventurers

Digital Dominance and ResMed – Changing lives with every breath

Best Use of Social

Nomadic Agency – Capcom Resident Evil Village Alternate Reality Game

Courageous Studio – AT&T Forces of Change

Initiative – Gen Z chooses Rexona

eos products and Mischief @ No Fixed Address – Cooch Blessings Campaign

Febreze and M Booth – Bedazzling Millennials with a Kardashian Brand Fan

Campfire and The INKEY List – #AskINKEY Campaign

Best Use of Mobile


Tapjoy and Bully Pulpit Interactive – The Biden/Harris 2020 Presidential Campaign

Aki Technologies and Family Dollar

Insider – Rebranding with New Mobile App Launch

(General Mills) Nature Valley & Mindshare – Sensory Ads by RUMBLE


Best Use of Video

Known and TikTok – It Starts On TikTok

CarMax – “Pinch Me”

TV Land


XX Artists – Ancestry’s Kidsplaining Series

Edelman and TAZO Tea (Unilever)

Best Use of Influencer Marketing – NEW

MG Empower and Bumble – #MyLoveIsBlackLove

Collab, OMD and PepsiCo – Late Night Tastebuds

eos products and Mischief @ No Fixed Address – Cooch Blessings Campaign

Zeno Group and Crest – Crest Whitening’s Beauty Breakthrough

MTN DEW GAME FUEL – 2020 Gaming Influencer Campaign

Known and TikTok – It Starts On TikTok

Best Product Launch Campaign

Barbarian and Fenty Beauty –  Fenty Eau De Parfum Ghost Stores

NYX Professional Makeup – Shine Loud High Shine Lip Color Launch

Accompany Creative – Launch of Nespresso Premium Single-Origin Coffee Portfolio

Signia & Griffin360 – Signia Active X hearing aid launch

Degree – Launch of Degree Inclusive

OMD and PepsiCo – Launch of Mountain Dew Major Melon

Best Branding Campaign B2B

Insider and ING – Transforming Business/Changemakers’ Playbook campaign

Oracle – Wall Street Journal Brand Advertising Campaign

Lycored – Nourishing connections

IDG and Domo – State of the CIO Data Dashboard


Wistia – Show Business

Best Branding Campaign B2C

Movement Strategy and Klarna

SEEN Connects and Simply Be – Fit For An Icon


Pepsi – Match Me if You Can


Summersalt – “Every Body Is A Summersalt Body” Campaign

Best Multi-Platform Campaign


HBO Max – On Location

Movement Strategy and Looney Tunes

Evoke and Foundation Consumer Healthcare, Plan B One-Step

Imprint Projects and Amazon Studios – “All In For Voting”

Weber Shandwick & Excedrin (GSK Consumer Healthcare) – Game Over for Headaches

Best Search Campaign

Goodway Group and Anytime Fitness

Investis Digital and Happy Valley

In The Know Glossary

Terakeet and Leading Mortgage/Lending Company

January Digital for David’s Bridal


Best Strategy Pivot – NEW

American Century Investments – #ACCFantasyGolf

Weber Shandwick & Excedrin (GSK Consumer Healthcare) – Game Over for Headaches

Havas Atlanta, Social Center (The Coca-Cola Company – North America), Moxie

Warm Street



Best Audio Campaign

Edelman & Good Humor (Unilever)

Velocity, ViacomCBS and LEGO® – Lego Friends Podcast

Nickelodeon and iHeartRadio – Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast

CBS News – My Life Of Crime Podcast

In The Know – We Should Talk

Best PR Campaign

Edelman & Dove (Unilever)

Expedia & Zeno Group – Lend A Helping Hand to Anxious Travelers

Weber Shandwick, Chicago – “Swim Heard Round the World”

Weber Shandwick, Chicago – American Pecans – Super Safe Pecan Debate

Movers+Shakers & e.l.f. Cosmetics – Chipotle Mexican Grill & DayOne Agency

The Martin Agency – UPS and J Balvin #JuntosImparables

Most Innovative Publisher

The Dodo




In The Know

Courageous Studios

Best Gaming/esports Campaign

In The Know Bowl

SHISEIDO, Dentsu Inc. – “Camellia” The brand film we didn’t shoot

BEN Group, Electronic Arts, and Velan Studios – Launch of “Knockout City”

Viral Nation – PUBG MOBILE Version Update Launch

Edelman & Edgewell Personal Care (Schick)

Enthusiast Gaming and TikTok – TikTok Gamers Greatest Talent

Most Innovative Media Agency


Kyra Media

Canvas Worldwide

Sela, a PCA Group Company, and OZNaturals


OMD Worldwide

Most Innovative Brand

Pepsi – PepsiCo Beverages North America

Reverb – The Pedal Movie

Lycored – Nourishing Connections



Known and Shift4 – Inspiration4

Most Innovative Technology Platform



STN Video


Intowow Yieldbooster


Most Innovative Independent Agency



Imprint Projects

Klick Health

We are Rosie – Welcome To A New Way To Work

SEEN Connects

Leader of the Year

OS Studios – John Higgins, CEO

SEEN Connects – Sedge Beswick, Founder and Managing Director

Bev – Alix Peabody, Founder and CEO

Collectively – Ryan Stern, CEO

PepsiCo Beverages, North America – Greg Lyons, CMO

HUM Nutrition – Walter Faulstroh, Co-founder & CEO

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Adobe Photoshop finally comes to the browser, and Chromebooks



Adobe Photoshop finally comes to the browser, and Chromebooks

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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The Rundown: Amazon steps up its courtship of brand advertising dollars at Unboxed



The Rundown: Amazon steps up its courtship of brand advertising dollars at Unboxed

October 26, 2021 by Max Willens

As it continues to hunt for brand advertisers’ dollars, Amazon will try to act more like a social network while continuing to think like a marketplace.

The ecommerce giant today announced a clutch of new additions to its advertising ecosystem at Unboxed, the company’s third annual advertising conference. Many of the changes seem explicitly aimed at helping advertisers who are focused on driving brand awareness or consideration, rather than strictly sales. 

The key details:

  • The company launched Brand Metrics, a “self-service measurement solution” that allows advertisers to track how many people are considering their brand and how they stack up to competitors. It also launched a brand lift tool that allows marketers to create studies within Amazon DSP, then send them to a panel of opted-in Amazon shoppers. 
  • Amazon is also expanding the availability of its marketing cloud to all of its DSP customers. Those customers now have the ability to upload pseudonymized data sets to query alongside Amazon ad campaign data, using either custom queries or by choosing from a library of queries Amazon supplies DSP users.  
  • The Unboxed announcement included several ad formats that could help performance marketers too, including more interactive ads. For example, customers that hear an ad on Amazon Music through any Alexa-enabled device can ask the assistant software to send them more information about the product advertised; customers that see an ad on IMDBtv through Fire TV can now ask Amazon to send them more information.
  • Advertisers can now also buy sponsored display ads within Twitch livestreams.

Seeking trust signals

Many of the changes Amazon is making seem designed to boost its customers’ engagement with ads and brands.

In addition to the new ad products, Amazon’s announcement also included fresh promotion of its “follow” button, which Amazon began testing about six months ago in the U.S. Customers that follow brands within Amazon get notifications when the brand does things like stream live — brands may also have deals for followers surfaced to them on Amazon’s homepage. Amazon said there are 20 million follow relationships in place within its ecosystem; as of 2019, there were more than 2 million brands selling on Amazon, according to Marketplace Pulse.

While Amazon will need more people to actually begin following brands, it potentially solves for problems that many kinds of advertisers have long had with Amazon as a marketplace. “What Amazon does really well is drive down customer acquisition cost, but their lifetime value is atrocious,” said Ryan Flannagan, the CEO of Nuanced Media, a performance-focused media agency. “Playing with these types of things could improve that.”

If follower features and follower counts become more visible within Amazon over time, it should help customers and advertisers begin to think about brands within the platform differently.

“They’re layering on these brand metrics because they also want another gauge of credibility,” Flannagan said. “Right now, [shopping on] Amazon is a price play. If it becomes a brand play, that changes things.”

The store(front) of the future

The addition of the follow button also opens the door for merchants and brands to start treating their storefronts differently. “It’ll allow them to treat Amazon stores like their websites,” said Peter Vasilakos, director of digital marketplaces at Assembly. “They’re going for a social approach.”

Amazon’s embrace of social sends it back in the direction that large tech platforms are heading, albeit from the opposite direction, with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all adding more native commerce opportunities, and large retailers, including Walmart, looking to do more to grow their advertising ecosystems. “Everything is turning into a marketplace,” Vasilakos said. 


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