Emaciated polar bears clutching to melting icebergs. Smokestacks fading to reveal wind turbines and clear air. These are the kinds of images you typically see in a TV spot for climate change awareness or clean energy use.
But exploding children?
That's precisely what's depicted in a new ad released Friday by British clean energy group 10:10, ironically titled "No Pressure."
The ad, or "mini-movie" as the 10:10 website describes it, features four vignettes where groups of people discuss their efforts to reduce their carbon footprints. In the first, a schoolteacher tells her class about energy-saving light bulbs and transportation alternatives, then asks students to raise their hands if they agree to use those "green" options. Most comply, but two shrug their shoulders and decide not to participate. "That's fine, it's absolutely fine; your own choice," the teacher says before she pulls out a detonator and summarily blows up the dissenters, to the shock of their classmates.
This theme carries throughout the film-at an office, a soccer field, and a radio studio-and each time, those individuals who appear indifferent toward or choose not to adopt energy-saving technologies meet their bloody demise at the hands of their "greener" cohorts. Information about 10:10 and its mission isn't delivered until three-quarters into the four-minute film, when a woman's voice asks, "Care to join us? No pressure."
Carey Campbell, chairman of Virginia's Independent Green Party, expressed shock when he heard a description of the video: "Holy cow, those people are crazier than a loon! Drunk on moonshine!"
"We need more candidates, less apathy. We need more trains, less traffic; nationwide high speed rail; cut dependence on foreign oil in half," and depictions of violence aren't the way to get there, he said.
The video went viral Friday, but it soon appeared that 10:10 was the one under pressure. Just hours after the film was posted, 10:10 removed the ad from its website and issued an apology.
"With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back to the headlines whilst making people laugh," the statement read, so the group enlisted a comedy writer to put the concept together.
"Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise [sic] to anybody we have offended."
Though the ad is no longer posted on 10:10's website, the group said it would not attempt to "censor or remove" copies that exist elsewhere online.
"Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark," the mea culpa continued. "Oh well, we live and learn."