Hitachi heralds COP26 climate conference with first carbon zero commercial

The COP26 United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow is almost upon us (the UK government is helping out by running out of petrol) and one of the shebang’s principal partners Hitachi is doing its bit with what it claims is the world’s first carbon zero commercial ‘Racing to Zero.’ Powered by cyclists and a solar generator.

From independent creative agency Mamapöol, directed by Ivan Bird through Rattling Stick, with a voiceover by Oscar-winning director, Sir Sam Mendes. Media by Universal McCann.

Hitachi Europe marketing director Hans Daems says: “As a Principal Partner of COP26, we very much hope that it will inspire momentum around global climate action. With this film, we wanted to create something meaningful which not only inspires others but also highlights just some of what is needed to help achieve a low carbon future.

“At Hitachi we have actively oriented our business towards the sustainable technology of the future, in order to become a climate change innovator and help governments, cities and our customers cut carbon. Transport is a critical part of that, and making this film firmly underlined what can be done, but also how much work there still is to do.

Director Bird says: “Authenticity was really important in this film. So many people talk about carbon neutrality and pay lip service. We generated every single watt of power on set, which was key to the integrity of the film. It wasn’t easy as we were dealing with very low levels of power, the projector had 7 cyclists (3 on camera, 4 off) creating the power – so it couldn’t be Leicester Square levels of luminance. We considered a studio, it would have made our lives considerably easier, but we thought it was important for the message that we were in the environment we were trying to protect.”

Carbon zero commercials are an interesting notion: on your bike Ridley.

Full marks for the initiative. The film? Maybe it shows there’s a still a way to go.

MAA creative scale: 7.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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