Climate Change Got You Down? Greenpeace Finds a Dark, but Tempting, Silver Lining in Real Estate

Inland homes today will be oceanfront tomorrow

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Climate change is real! It’s totally our fault! The Doomsday Clock is two and a half minutes to midnight!

Yawn. Get a grip, kids. It’s not like the world’s end will happen in our lifetimes, right? Meantime, there’s Real Housewives to watch and litter to whimsically scatter.

Thankfully, Greenpeace France has heard you, ye who suffer from the fatigue of nonstop apocalypse. And with a tongue-in-cheek ad for a fictional real estate company, Orizon, it proposes a look on the bright side.

Conceived and built by Artefact, its first work for the organization, “Orizon, Predictive Real Estate” is a triumph of premium stock-photo mediocrity and data-driven zeal. “For the last 30 years, people have been warning us about climate change,” it airily begins. “At Orizon, we see this as an opportunity.”

Gorgeous seafront property and turquoise water fill the eyeline, juxtaposed to an Instagram-inspired woman whose hand is held by someone just out of frame.


The ad continues, “Using our predictive search engine, we are able to identify the real estate proposal today that will become the seafront’s homes of  tomorrow. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to invest in something that will secure your family’s future for decades to come.”

We’re met with the soothing image of young, competent geeks examining charts and grinding figures in a bone-white startup environment. This is the world Silicon Valley promised—one of neat, relatable efficiency. And as 3-D rendered sea levels rise to engulf beachside homes—bye, Mom and Dad!—we watch the cost of once-inland homes rise.

Invest in the ‘burbs today, enjoy sand on your toes and 285 percent in capital gains tomorrow!

The ad concludes, “Orizon: Look at the bright side of climate change.”

Orizon’s website takes the dark joke all the way to its logical conclusion, inviting users in France and Belgium (with more to come; there’s almost no land left anyway) to select regions, prospective home sizes and budgets. It then calculates rising water levels leading into the year 2100 and proposes absolute steals whose costs will appreciate as the encroaching sea meets their thresholds.

You’re not getting deals like this at Century 21.

The campaign seeks to demonstrate climate change’s personal implications, using a cynically probable business model with real data and working algorithms.

The data is drawn from the IPCC’s 2014 report, which projects our future carbon emissions. Specifically, its RCP8.5 scenario predicts a temperature rise of 5 degrees Celsius and a sea-level rise of one meter on average by 2100—the most pessimistic report, but realistic nonetheless, given current emissions rates. The impact of water-level rise is based on NASA’s topographical information.

“The Paris Agreement helped offer a response to the dangers of global warming. Unfortunately, we are witnessing a lack of interest in this topic from the general public. However, there is a real urgency,” says Greenpeace France communications director Laurence Veyne.

“With this operation, Greenpeace France aims to condemn the inability to change and the lack of ambition of countries, while also warning people about the cynicism of large corporations that continue to invest in fossil energy and show no progress in evolving their industries. By showing in a realistic picture the impact of the rise of sea levels, we want to raise awareness that more needs to be done, especially in France, to develop renewable energy and start a transition into climate-friendly agriculture.”

“Orizon” went live on Nov. 9, following the start of the COP 23 Summit. It launched in France and Belgium and will be shared by Greenpeace on social media.

Client : Greenpeace
Head of communication : Laurence Veyne
Digital marketing manager : Clément Schmitt
Agency : Artefact
Agency account managers : François Brogi, Mehdi Lakhdar, Lucie Marchais
Strategic planner : Jean Allary
Creative Director : Romain Pergeaux
Art Director : Fabien Hujeux
Copywriter : Romain Pergeaux
Production Director : Samir Semaoune
Data Engineer : Charles Darmon
Data scientist : Samuel Houri
Film production company : De Gaulle
Producer : Édouard Bonnet
Réalisateur : Jony Guedj
Website production company : Neuvième Page
On air : 11.9.17 – France and Belgium
Media : display, social network

Join the foremost brand marketers, such as Marc Pritchard, Brad Hiranaga, Kory Marchisotto and more, for Brandweek Masters Live on Sept. 14-17. Secure your pass and learn from the brand masters.

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.