A UK nationwide campaign for Denmark’s Dong Energy

The UK is the global leader in offshore wind. It has the largest offshore wind farm in the world and generates enough energy to potentially power the whole country three times over. Despite these impressive statistics, offshore wind is often shrouded in myths.

To tackle these misconceptions, DONG Energy UK commissioned Firedog Creative in London to produce a nationwide campaign. This is the first of its kind to promote offshore wind power for the sole purpose of informing public opinion.

Our adverts have been up in over 250 sites in underground stations across London

The idea

Recalling the impact of Danny Boyle’s 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, we decided that the campaign should capitalise on a sense of British pride. From Brunel in the 19th Century to Berners-Lee in the 21st, engineering is ingrained in the UK’s history. Juxtaposing past, present and future, we wanted the campaign to simultaneously hark back to this rich pioneering heritage and excite its audience over what we are yet to achieve.

Casting our minds back to periods that highlighted Britain’s technological abilities, we focused on the Industrial Revolution. The period represents tremendous growth as a result of sharp minds and hard labour. In this sense, a strong parallel can be drawn between the Industrial Revolution and the impact of offshore wind today. The campaign title “Offshore Wind Works” combines functionality, manpower, and the effectiveness of UK engineering.

Caspar David Friedrich’s key Romantic painting, “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog,” became our inspiration

A concept develops

While the offshore wind industry is certainly linked to production and growth, we felt that the campaign should also reference its environment. We began by exploring Romanticism, a movement often classed as a direct response to the Industrial Revolution. Romanticism placed huge emphasis on man’s relationship with nature and the strength of human emotions – especially those of awe.

We combined the pioneering, mechanical elements of the Industrial Revolution with Romanticism’s focus on nature and sentimentality. Caspar David Friedrich’s key Romantic painting, “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog,” became our inspiration.

In our take on the painting, the central figure becomes representative of a Victorian engineering genius, such as Brunel or Stevenson. We adapted Friedrich’s piece and created a seascape dotted with wind turbines. By presenting the turbines as integral to the natural landscape, we aim to combat an aversion to change. Looking out over a vast seascape, our figure envisions the future progress of engineering and technological evolution. As Friedrich’s painting epitomises the Romantic fascination with feelings of awe, our campaign presents the turbines as objects of wonder. These elegant, spinning blades are majestic outcomes of Britain’s engineering excellence.

The original painting; 'Wanderer above the Sea of Fog'

Our interpretation and adaption into the campaign

Image creation

Despite his Victorian attire, the central character also represents the present day pioneers who are shaping Britain’s future. The vast expanse of sea is complemented by copy that conveys offshore wind power’s largely untapped potential. Working together, the image and copy inspire each individual to consider the UK’s role in a more sustainable future.

Transforming the digital image into a professional oil painting strengthens the impression that it was created during the Victorian times. We commissioned Montreal-based artist, Sharif Tarabay, to do this. The craquelure technique and visible brush strokes adds authenticity and enhances the traditional, romantic feel. The sky is strongly reminiscent of a Turner painting – one of Britain’s most celebrated Romantic painters. Luminous shades of pale pink and hints of amber represent the fusion of Britain’s golden era with a promising future.

The government-backed campaign has already proved itself to be a great success in the party conferences and has gained a strong Twitter following.

Executing the campaign

Alongside the outdoor, national and regional ads, we also developed a microsite for the campaign. From school children to pensioners, site managers to politicians, the campaign does not target a specific age range or audience. Rather, it seeks to engage people who are eager to learn. Aware of this very wide audience, we strategically divided the site accordingly.

To complement the traditional feel of the campaign, Sharif also produced a series of vignettes for the website. These vignettes can be used throughout the website to build up interest and add colour. The articles also feature a series of infographics, created by our in-house design team, that bring statistics to life.

The government-backed campaign has already proved itself to be a great success in the party conferences and has gained a strong Twitter following. It’s live in 108 tube stations and featured in both the national and regional press. Tailored copy for local areas increases awareness of the opportunities that offshore wind brings.