Chaos Battles Calm in UK Ad Promoting the Quiet Connection to Nature

W+K London helps the National Trust celebrate 125 years

Big open sky over a plain
The National Trust is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030. The National Trust

The National Trust was established in 1895, but the mission of Europe’s largest conservation charity is just as clear today as it was in the 19th century. In celebrating 125 years of preserving the countryside and coastlines of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the organization kicked off a year-long campaign to remind people to slow down, take in the beauty and sustain that sense of peace for years to come.

The charity partnered with Wieden + Kennedy London to create a short anniversary film highlighting the relevance of a quiet connection to nature in 2020, and the results may make you wish it were 1895 again.

“Our lives are over-crowded, over-excited, over-strained,” the copy reads as images of commuting, chores, screaming babies and nightclubs fill the screen. Throw in an escalating, screeching mix of sounds, and the cut to nature is a welcomed moment.

The concept of mirroring our busy, everyday lives with a desire to lead a simpler, less destructive lifestyle is a common theme for brands today. But the National Trust’s pitch is more compelling by focusing on the longevity of both its values and work.

Incorporating co-founder Octavia Hill into the spot was important to the organization. One of her quotes is featured as images of the U.K.’s hustle and bustle, and beauty and calm compete for attention. Her words from 1883 remind viewers that “We all want quiet. We all want beauty. We all need space. Unless we have it, we cannot reach that sense of quiet in which whispers of better things come to us gently.”

“[The quotes running] through the work reminds us how we all need nature and [that it’s] still as pertinent today as it was all those years ago,” said Tony Davidson, executive creative director of Wieden + Kennedy London. “We wanted to bring people a sense of calm and remind them how it feels to be at one with nature.”

The anniversary work will run across online, social and print platforms in coordination with the organization’s focus to reduce its carbon footprint. The Trust is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030 as it plants 20 million trees, provides green spaces for the community, and encourages people to make their own connection with nature.

This isn’t the first time Wieden + Kennedy has stepped into the conservation arena. Last fall, the agency joined a large number of companies that chose to close down on Sept. 20, allowing employees to participate in global climate strikes that took place in the days leading up to the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit in New York.

@mjjordan7 Melissa Jordan is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.