Earth Day PSAs Pay Dividends

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There are so many issues around climate change and sustainability weighing on people's minds these days

As we look for information and guidance on how we can do more to help or do less to hurt the planet, the news doesn’t always seem manageable. It's nice, then, when you can report on a positive initiative.

Like how OAAA teamed up with once again this year for a PSA campaign. The goal? The same as it’s been for the past three Earth Day efforts—to spread awareness and education through creative physical spaces with the goal of inspiring people to act.

Award-winning advertising agency Extra Credit Projects developed the campaign creative for organizations to use in their promotions. The 2022 theme, “Invest in our planet” focused on outreach to businesses and government entities—organizations possessing significant capital to invest in the planet by way of their decision-making efforts and actionable policies that lead to sustainable paths forward. Because OAAA is the association representing the out-of-home (OOH) industry, the organization serves as a catalyst for education and inspiring change at scale.

Investing in the Future

PSA campaigns like this also allow for reflection and anticipation. For more than 100 years OOH advertising has been critical to engaging audiences in the moment, and that legacy continues. OOH holds a particular advantage when it comes to Earth Day, because these announcements exist in the very landscapes where people can see the impact of their action—or inaction.

Several OAAA members, including Intersection, Norton Outdoor, Clear Channel, Yesco Outdoor, and Lamar donated space to run the Earth Day campaign. Together their efforts generated nearly 52 million impressions in more than 50 markets around the country.

Beyond the numbers are bigger considerations. With the OOH industry’s continued rapid growth and expanded reach as more people resume out-of-home activities, impressions equal opportunities. OAAA knows through past experience how PSA campaigns can help. In this case, helping to facilitate progress toward addressing immediate actions to take, as well as inspiring future innovations that change our relationship with the planet for the better.

There is No Plan(et) B

When it comes to investing in change, the pandemic seems to have shifted perspectives in many areas of our lives, environmental impact included. A 2021 survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value found that 93% of global respondents said the pandemic had influenced their views on sustainability. But what, exactly, does that look like?

In a 2022 Ipsos survey participants indicated that we all are—or should be—in this together. Specifically, they cited a shared responsibility among government (77%), businesses (76%) and individuals (74%) to address climate change. And surveys consistently show that, while climate change is one of the top issues for Gen Z, its importance spans generations. This only underscores the need to promote better environmental practices by everyone for today and tomorrow.

As environmental activist and author Wendell Berry once said, “The Earth is what we all have in common.” In the midst of global health, social, and geopolitical disruptions, the 24/7 digital assault of messages or lures to doomscroll can easily become overwhelming. That, in turn, can lead some people to withdraw and, in that isolation, miss messages with opportunities to make a meaningful difference.

OOH advertising serves a dual purpose in this regard. It provides an escape from, and transition back into, real-life connections. And it fosters the ability for people to interact with the very world we’re trying to protect.

Outdoor moments feel particularly precious right now, but they shouldn’t feel at risk. We all know the issues facing our planet don't disappear once Earth Day is over. But the impact of messages that engage and encourage action in the moment have a multiplier effect. And the OOH industry is a facilitator in that effect, contributing to the betterment of our health and well-being as we all seek ways to improve our impact on the planet.