Melting cooling towers

AN anti-pollution advert seems to have inadvertently achieved the opposite of what campaigners intended - after viewers fell in love with the quirky 'cooling tower' characters featured in their video.  

The greener energy campaign was launched last week as part of a fight against fossil fuels but the personalities given to the collapsing cooling towers in the animation has instead drawn an outpouring of sympathy for the giant buildings. 

In what has been described by viewers as an 'advertising failure', the 75 second video starts with two nuclear cooling towers over which animators have drawn 3D arms and smiley faces. 

One tower rubs its eyes awake, then serves the other tower tea, them serves itself. 

Explosives blow up both towers, which collapse, while the animated faces express shock and their animated arms rise in horror.

Also in the video, two other cooling towers can be seen rudely awakened in the night; just as one takes off its eye mask, the two collapse.

Four smokestacks suffer a similar fate; as they fall in tandem, the others reach out and then two salute after realising there's no hope of survival.

The video was created by London advertising firm Man + Hatchet for Ecotricity, a green energy company, as an attempt to show that the world needs to move on from the so-called 'Big six' energy companies who dominate the UK market. 

The video has gathered over 1,300,000 views in just five days since it was uploaded to YouTube last week.

However,  it has not hit the intended notes with everyone, YouTube user holaanstop replied to the video: "Dear Ecotricity, If you want to convince me that polluting power plants should be abolished in favour of more wind turbines and solar panels, maybe don’t make me feel bad for cooling towers. Just a thought."

Fellow user RenoReturns commented: "I've never in my life felt bad for a cooling tower."

JustGrundy added: "This is such a fail from an advertising perspective. Why would you anthropomorphise, with them cute faces, the item that you are trying to villainise (sic) and show their horrifying death? Only to then replace them with minimalist completely non-anthropomorphised wind turbines.

"And that's purely a criticism on it's advertising failures not to mention the grevious (sic) errors in the proposal to replace all of these items with wind turbines. Crikey."

But Ecotricity founder Dale Vince says he believes now is the right moment for people to vote with their energy bills, ‘Dump the Big Six’ and bring the UK into a green energy future.


“For most of last year, and continuing quite unabated this year, the mood in our country has turned very much against the Big Six energy companies. And it’s not hard to see why.


“The interests of the Big Six energy companies are simply not aligned to the interests of the British people.  They chase short-term profit and shareholder dividends – at almost any cost. 


“People are fed up with the unethical pricing, awful customer service and the dire lack of investment in new sources of green energy.


“So we’ve launched a campaign called ‘Dump the Big Six’.


“As befits an organisation such as Ecotricity – it’s not a big budget TV campaign, but is taking place online, through digitally enabled People:Power.”