Thanks to Anders for this piece of reporting from Cannes. (I'm not sure if he's actually there or not)
This poster has just won the Grand Prix in the outdoor category at the Cannes Lions festival.
In a supplementary text the agency explain:
"The World's First Solar Powered Billboard, from a bank committed to making a real difference, was designed to harness and convert the heat of the African sun into a much-needed necessity, electricity. It currently powers the kitchens of a township primary school, feeding 1100 kids and in time will completely generate the school required power needs. The idea is currently being rolled out across the country.
Apart from the obvious benefit to communities, traditional electricity use is the major cause of global warming, so imagine what a difference it could make if every marketer adopted this approach to outdoor?
The initiative will save the school R2300 a month in electricity charges. The bill board has 10 solar panels with each panel generating 135 watts of power. The power generated from the panels will be enough to boil 18.1 litres in domestic kettles continuously at any one time, which goes a long way towards the schools feeding scheme. "You can't teach a hungry child" enabling more students to receive breakfast and lunch.
The billboards batteries store enough energy to make the billboard completely self-sufficient generating sufficient electricity to light up at night."
Is it just me or does this smack a little of greenwashing?
I'm left wondering why they attached a large poster to the bottom of the solar panels? And the text just annoys me. Are they really claiming that this 'idea' that they are rolling out across the country is theirs, as if they invented solar panels?
I might just be being pedantic but wouldn't it have been better/cleverer idea if they used a giant panel as a poster instead. At least the poster would have been integrated somehow instead of just hanging underneath looking a little bolted on.
And what happens when the lights go on at night? Do the kettles stop working? (okay, now I am being a little unfair)
Don't get me wrong. It's brave and it's undoubtedly doing some good, I'm just not sure. It is really a very difficult area to be in. It raises so many questions. Maybe they would have been better off just providing the funding for the panels? What else are they doing to help? What is their CSR policy when it comes to investing ethically?
What do you think?