Make My Money Matter ‘Oblivia Coalmine’: Truly slick

Olivia_Colman_oilRichard Curtis might be well known as the man behind Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, About Time, Yesterday and the festive classic Love Actually but he is also heavily involved in both fighting poverty and helping people to make a difference with their money.

One such organisation is Make My Money Matter, whose own research shows a staggering £88bn of UK pension savers’ money is invested in fossil fuel companies. This includes £20bn in Shell alone, a company which, despite bumper profits, has in 2023 publicly rolled back on climate targets.

New public polling shows that such investments are not just bad for the planet – but they are also unpopular with savers. Just 19% of UK pension holders support their scheme investing in oil and gas, compared to two-thirds (66%) who support their pension investing in renewables.

Despite this, industry action on this agenda is painfully slow. Not one UK pension scheme has committed to stopping finance for fossil fuel expansion, despite clear guidance from the International Energy Agency that new oil and gas is incompatible with the 1.5-degree warming target of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Enter a new ad campaign by Lucky Generals, which helps turn Academy-Award winner Olivia Colman into ‘Oblivia Coalmine’, a latex-wearing, potty-mouthed CEO of a fossil fuel company financed by UK pension holders.

Designed to raise public awareness of the damaging links between the UK pensions industry and the climate emergency, the ad is timed to coincide with COP28 in UAE, and calls on all pension schemes to rule out investing in companies driving fossil fuel expansion.

It features The Queen and The Favourite actor being transformed into a smarmy, smug and self-righteous CEO, oozing evil and condescension, as she thanks the viewers on behalf of the fossil fuel industries for their generosity in unwittingly giving their pension funds to help them enjoy a bumper year of profits.

Clad in black latex, lounging in her opulent office and dripping in villainy, Oblivia explains that the cash from our pensions has helped “dig, drill and destroy” as never before, then cheerfully quipping that they even managed to throw a couple of wind turbines in to “keep Greta and her chums happy”, a reference to an increasing focus on greenwashing in the oil and gas industry.

As her patronising message of thanks continues, one of her colleagues pours her a glass of distinctly inky liquid from a champagne bottle as Oblivia concedes that while the global temperature may rise “a teensy-weensy bit”, this is nothing compared to their profits “which are literally soaring”. She raises her glass in a toast, only to spill the black liquid on her face and coat, eliciting a furious “Fracking hell”.

Richard Curtis said, “I’ve seen some dark, dystopian characters in my career, and that doesn’t even include Hugh Grant in Love Actually. But I think Oblivia Coalmine is right up there with the worst.

“At Make My Money Matter, we hope this sinister performance by Olivia Colman will highlight a more serious issue – that billions of pounds of our hard-earned pensions are driving the climate crisis. People across the UK want their money to help our planet, not harm it and all our pension schemes must now pay attention, and take immediate and urgent action.”

Lucky Generals creative founder Danny Brooke-Taylor added: “The cruel irony is that whilst we all save for the future, the pension companies are investing in industries that are actively destroying it.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, this ad is nothing if not slick. Olivia Colman is highly convincing and it’s no doubt a great cause. Sadly, everyone also likes a big fat pension and funds are under massive pressure to deliver results.

No doubt there are many alternatives but convincing big business to step away from lucrative fossil fuels might take a bit more than this. After all, money talks and it is no coincidence that the United Arab Emirates allegedly planned to use its role as the host of UN climate talks as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals. We’re doomed…

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “great ad but we need more action” 8 out of 10

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