Many years ago, when my hair was mostly brown with a few gray strands instead of the opposite, my wife and I took a vacation in Asia. We went to Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and, because my wife wanted to see Bali, we stopped in Indonesia as well.
In order to get to Bali via the deal my wife wangled, we had to go through Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta. I have to say that at the time, it struck me as unbelievably banal and boring, one of the dullest capital cities I’d been in.
I wish it were as dull and boring today. Instead, it’s rapidly sinking underwater. The cause? Melting polar ice caused by climate change.
If you’ve never been to Indonesia, I don’t expect this will mean much to you. You’ll probably file it away in a mental folder called “Things to be concerned about when I have time.” But if you have, it’ll be very real to you. A place that used to be land is now sinking under the ocean.
Now: What the hell does all this have to do with marketing?
As marketers, we’re in denial, to one degree or another. Our rationale up until now has been that we have to be, in order to survive. We have to think about billings, clients, briefs, quarterly goals. There’s only so much room in our brains.
But now, faster than we know, the situation is flipping.
Now, in order to survive, we need to not be in denial.
For example, if you’re in the marketing department of an airline that flies to Indonesia, its sinking into the ocean is a pretty big deal that’s going to cut into your business. The same is true if you work for an international company that markets to Indonesian businesses or consumers. Are you a designer, art director or copywriter for a concern that makes things in Indonesian factories, like clothing or sneakers? You might be in for a bumpy ride.
Because now, global climate change isn’t something we can ignore, or donate to once a year, or pay lip service to with products named Rainforest Renew and Coral Reef Sparkle.
It’s something that should factor heavily into every decision we make, every day.
Our survival depends on it, not just as marketers but as human beings.
Dave Dumanis is a 25-year San Francisco Bay Area copywriter, creative director and advertising veteran.