In 2021 Common evaluated a campaign that took a unique cultural approach to engaging the public on climate. The idea was to work with cultural partners from the music industry to shift narratives and mobilise audiences. The campaign involved both national and regional activities led by Music Delares Emergency and Julie’s Bicycle. It involved fresh messaging from artists that people trust and who can inspire an emotional connection to the climate and ecological emergency to motivate them to act.
Common was commissioned to evaluate the impact of this novel cultural approach with more traditional campaigns. We did this by designing an experiment where we exposed participants to the Music Declares Emergency cultural campaign, the traditional campaign (People versus Climate Change; PvCC) and a control neutral message. Besides evaluating the reactions to the campaigns, we also explored a number of domains known to drive behavioural change (attitudes, personal agency, public and private engagement).
We found that although both campaigns elicited a stronger positive emotional reaction than the control, a traditional approach was more effective to increase trust towards the messenger. In general, different campaigns can have a differential impact for different audiences. We recommended combining traditional with cultural approaches for these campaigns.