The New American Road Trip with IKEA Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and JPB Foundation
In partnership with IKEA Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and JPB Foundation, Purpose drove an electric vehicle from the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco to New York’s Climate Week. The New American Road Trip brought together citizens, mayors, corporate leaders, and celebrities. We hosted live events, held contests, and produced several video series along the way.
The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco and Climate Week in New York represented key moments for high-level climate action. Set only two weeks apart, there was very little connecting these moments to everyday people throughout the country.
Inspired by the iconography and cultural relevance of cross country road trips, The Purpose Climate Lab and partners saw an opportunity to connect these events through an electric vehicle trip. The road trip would serve as the backdrop for the production of creative content and a series of local events in key cities to illustrate the momentum around climate solutions and clean transportation, shining a light on the people and places that are driving climate action in America.
Theory of Change
By mobilizing cultural influencers to tell compelling narratives about climate change solutions and highlighting the stories of unsung climate heroes throughout the country, we can make climate change solutions feel tangible and relatable to everyday people across the United States.
We created a brand identity that evokes a classic Americana feel with a fresh spin through the use of modern fonts and typographic treatment. The logo alludes to the curves of the road, diverse landscapes encountered along the trip, and the concept of forward motion. The letterforms are both playful and energetic, helping to garner excitement and to motivate engagement with the stories and climate action objectives layered within the road trip.
We created a website where audiences could follow along with the road trip, RSVP to the events, and watch the stories we captured along the way.
Video Series: Unsung Climate Heroes
Along the way, we told the stories of local leaders, innovators, workers, and communities who are proving that America’s commitment to fighting climate change is real and robust. Their stories demonstrate that climate change isn’t a problem only Washington can solve and it isn’t a fight only the biggest celebrities can lead. Here in America, the tide of climate change will be turned in small towns.
Here is a favorite from the series, featuring the small town of Greensburg, Kansas:
Video Series: Comedy Pit Stops
Comedian JC Coccoli joined us on the trip and met with a different comedian in every city. At every pit stop, the comedians reflected on the themes of The Road Trip in their own voice. This celebrity engagement and distribution partnership with Funny or Die made the climate change conversation accessible to new, unlikely audiences.
Here’s a favorite from the series, featuring Guy Branum and Antonique Smith in Las Vegas:
We held a series of events to generate media opportunities and press coverage in regions which otherwise would not be engaged or even aware of what was happening at the climate conferences in New York and San Francisco. Events in Las Vegas, Boulder, St. Louis and Pittsburgh were designed to elevate the platforms of local politicians and businesses who have championed bold climate commitments. Each event was tailored to the local context of that city or state: Las Vegas was focused around the business case for renewables and clean transportation and the necessary infrastructures; Boulder was focused on local city initiatives and leadership especially related to housing and mobility; St. Louis focused on local planning and action — from government, utilities and business — to promote clean energy and mobility; and Pittsburgh was focused on the transition to clean energy and opportunities created, especially around jobs. In Lake Orion, Michigan we took the electric car home for a meeting with the union workers who built the model and had a discussion about the future of jobs and electric mobility.
The campaign engaged the support of dozens of partners such as cities, universities, NGOs, businesses, and summits. Civil society partners included local Sierra Club chapters, NRDC, The Climate Group, Plug in America, Hip Hop Caucus, Mission 2020, Blue Green Alliance, Jobs to Move America and many others. Partners Funny or Die and The Hub supported content promotion and influencer engagement. The project also engaged business partners, such as EVGo, National Car Sharing, Anheuser Busch, IKEA, MGM Resorts and GM. Unions included UAW, AFL-CIO and USW. The universities of CU-Boulder, Washington University and University of Pittsburgh were also partners.
As part of the local engagement strategy for the cities where events were held, Purpose developed and ran local, Instagram-based contests. The contests awarded organizations that are implementing mobility solutions in each of the cities, with a total of $40,000 distributed to 12 organizations.
The New American Road Trip brought together citizens, mayors, corporate leaders and celebrities in a celebration of the people and technology that drive America’s clean energy innovation.
It broadened the climate change conversation through Instagram with influencers, leading to 1.4 million impressions with New American Road Trip’s content on Instagram. The project also strengthened relationships with celebrities and influencers, local institutions and organizers, cultural campaigners, and UN ambassadors.