A British ad for a climate change campaign shows corporate workers, a famous soccer player and even school children being blown up for not agreeing to cut their carbon emissions, a blood-splattering display that has drawn anger from critics and sheepish embarrassment from its supporters.
The short film, "No Pressure," which promotes the U.K.'s 10:10 climate change campaign, debuted on the campaign's website Friday. It depicts a school teacher, a corporate boss and a soccer coach asking their respective students, employees and players to participate in the 10:10 campaign to reduce carbon emissions. Despite being told there is "no pressure" to join the cause, those who say they don't plan to participate are immediately blown up by their superiors with the push of a button; the others are left standing in awe and covered in bloody remains.
The film was written by "Four Weddings and a Funeral" screenwriter Richard Curtis and directed by music video and commercial director Dougal Wilson. It features actress Gillian Anderson, British soccer stars Peter Crouch and David Ginola and music by Radiohead.
But despite the star-studded credits, the charities behind the film told the Guardian they were "absolutely appalled" by the video, which was pulled from circulation in U.K. movie theaters within hours of its release amid a storm of protest.
"We think the 10:10 campaign is very important, but the moment this film was seen it was clear it was inappropriate," ActionAid, a charity that co-ordinates the 10:10 schools program, told the Guardian.
The 10:10 campaign said that the video was intended to revive the issue of climate change in the media in a way that would make people laugh. To a degree, it said, it succeeded.
"Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and 10:10 would like to apologize to everybody who was offended by the film," 10:10 said in a statement Friday.
The group removed the ad from its website; it said it won't attempt to censor any other versions in circulation on the Internet.
Click here to see the video on YouTube (Warning: graphic content).
But the campaign's founder still stands by the film.
"We 'killed' five people to make No Pressure - a mere blip compared to the 300,000 real people who now die each year from climate change," Franny Armstrong told the Telegraph.
Curtis said he hopes the provocative nature of the film doesn't deter from its message.
"When you try to be funny on a serious subject, it's obviously risky," he told the Guardian. "I hope people who don't like the little film will still think about the big issue and try to do something about it."
But critics say the video will have the opposite effect.
"While I can sort of see where the writer was trying to go with his comedy here, the message that comes across FIRST and with the most power most assuredly is: ‘Think how we think, do as we do or die,' a YouTube viewer commented. "This was not the intent, however, anyone trying to state that it is not the result is sadly mistaken. I find this to be a horrific message in its entirety."
"It's pretty clear what the environmental movement thinks about human beings in this video. Especially dissenters," another viewer wrote.
The campaign, which was launched in Sept 1, 2009, and aims to cut 10 percent of emissions in the developed world by the end of 2010, says it'll do better next time.
"At 10:10 we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change," the 10:10 team said in the statement. "Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn."