Behind The Cover: Host/Havas tackle climate change

By Paige Murphy | 7 August 2019

This first appeared in the AdNews August edition. Subscribe here for your copy.

The creative contingent of adland is the beating heart of the industry. To fully embrace this, and with a mission to create awesome and inspiring covers, each month AdNews hand-picks an agency to work its magic.

To reflect this issue’s feature that looks at climate change, we asked Host/Havas to take on the challenge. Who better to ask too, as the agency launches a new offering which seeks to aid clients in re-thinking the way they do business to move towards a more sustainable approach. While a lot of adland is still embroiled by mass consumerism – something many argue is fuelling the climate “emergency” – Host/Havas hopes to tackle the problem head on.

AdNews journalist Paige Murphy spoke with Host/Havas to find out about the process of creating the cover.

What were your initial thoughts on the climate change brief at hand?
We were incredibly excited about the opportunity to work on this theme. Climate change is one of those things that everyone is aware of in the broadest terms, but the nuances of its causes and effects is a rabbit hole that you can very quickly get lost in. Fortunately, we work with a lot of brilliant, sustainably-minded people; and our business both at a global and local level has put the topic at the top of the agenda, both internally and for our client partners. In fact, we’re launching a new offering geared towards helping our client partners re-think the way they do business to reverse their impact on the planet. Many agencies do a great job at creating great front-end consumer experiences and ideas. But our goal is to tackle the more systemic challenges through product life-cycle analysis and helping to imagine more sustainable business models, products and services that tackle the sources of our global issues. It seems the stars aligned on this one, and we were able to create a cover for a theme that we feel truly passionate about.

Post first brief chat, what went through your mind(s) and what were the next steps you took as a team?
This is a great brief, and one that’s so easy to dive into, but it also requires an understanding of the issue. So our initial steps were less about ideation and more about education.

How did you know you’d landed on the best concept?
We had a few thoughts that we loved from a visual perspective. But as we drilled down into the issues that surrounded the theme, this one stood out as being an incredibly simple take on the attitudes around the problem.

Who from the team was largely involved and what were their roles?
A whole bunch of people worked on this. It was a brief that everyone wanted a crack at.

What were the biggest hurdles to making this a reality? Any challenges?
As always, time was an issue, which was great in a sense because it forced us to focus on ideas that were brutally immediate in their simplicity.

Biggest challenges with the whole process? Did anything keep you up at night?
Our biggest concerns were conveying the wrong message and coming across as, at best, misinformed, and at worst, part of the problem. Reading about Australia’s less than brilliant rankings in global climate change surveys and the difficulties our Emission Reduction Fund is facing was bleak, but it definitely showed us that we were on the right track.

Best bit about the process?
It sounds old fashioned, but just having a brief that called for a great print ad. So much of our time is spent delivering output neutral solutions, that you can sometimes forget the simple pleasure in seeing a piece of well-crafted print. A limited edition bespoke AdNews ‘A’ trophy is also up for grabs for the winner.

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