Drew Barrymore went to bed upset after watching Don’t look up, Adam McKay’s 2021 allegory for the climate crisis. As the asteroid moved closer and closer to Earth, no one – not journalists, executives or celebrities – could convince people of the danger it posed. It was too real.
While the film is “an absolute masterpiece,” Barrymore said it’s also a reminder of how people process and digest information these days. After watching him, she recalls walking around her apartment the next day trying to process him. In a world that is always online and overly inundated, the film was a reminder that no single voice or message can pierce through, no matter how loud, how important or how urgent.
“I can’t stand the accuracy of stupidity and divisiveness and crazy behavior and it doesn’t seem like what anyone says can reach the top,” Barrymore said. Forbes. “It will continue to be swallowed up in mass hysteria.”
A self-proclaimed optimist and news junkie, she hasn’t given up. But instead of taking the apocalyptic approach, she uses a different tone to cut through the noise: optimism.
Barrymore stars in a new ad campaign with Grove Collaborative, a maker of eco-friendly household cleaning products. The first ads in the campaign, which started this week, use solutions to solve the plastic problem.
One of the ads uses the classic 1964 song “Wishin’ and Hopin” by Dusty Springfield as people proudly sing and dance along with plastic dishwasher and detergent containers on their way to the recycling bin. But Barrymore interrupts. Only 9% of plastic is recycled, she says, citing a 2019 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientists progress.
“I also really feel like [being] proactivity is important,” she says. “Kind of wishing and hoping and manifesting and all of that is really great spiritual practice, but there needs to be a lot more activity. I want to feel engaged and active. Otherwise, I feel passive and fearful. I like hope as an attitude, not as a strategy.
By speaking with Forbes in February on set of the commercial shoot, Barrymore recalled hearing about Grove through an Instagram ad and becoming a solo client long before she became a partner. She also recently invested in the company, which in December announced plans to go public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group Acquisition Corp II. Although Grove did not disclose the amount Barrymore is investing, Branson’s SPAC plans to provide up to $435 million, including $87 million in fully committed common equity PIPE financing from other investors.
Although Barrymore is one of Hollywood’s most recognizable actresses, she doesn’t see herself having more of a platform than journalists, executives, or celebrities whose voices couldn’t cut through the noise in Don’t look up.
“I don’t think I’ll ever see myself that way,” she says. “I think people in the traditional sense have a real platform. This is partly because so many people have a voice now, which is perhaps the great karmatic balancing act. Technology has changed so that we don’t have to listen to just one voice. We can listen to everyone.
But Grove marketing director Jennie Perry, who spent nearly a decade at Amazon before joining Grove last year, says Barrymore stands out. It’s her upbeat personality, she says, that resonates the message.
“We’ve all become addicted to plastic, and the CPG industry has played a very big part in the problem,” says Perry, adding that Grove’s “duty to re-educate customers . . . that there are acceptable and easy ways to make the difference.
Advertisements that deal with climate change still represent a relatively small part of marketing. CreativeX, a startup that provides ad creative data, analyzed nearly 280,000 image and video ads served in 2020 by CPG, beauty, fashion and alcohol brands and found that only 3.5% mentioned green initiatives. Only 29% of ads mostly avoided negative terms like “pollution,” “fossil fuels,” and “deforestation,” while the remaining 71% used positive terms like “sustainable,” “renewable,” and “recyclable.” . (Almost half used the word “green,” but only 1.4% used “preservation” and only 7.1% used “plastic.”)
David Ewald, a professor of advertising and brand responsibility at the University of Oregon, says Grove’s campaign tone “helps connect complicated and catastrophic topics” with audiences who want to do something about them. . It also “sets the stage for a broader set of conversations and actions.”
“If this campaign helps more people think about their true environmental footprint and how to improve it, it’s a success,” says Ewald. “Furthermore, I hope more companies will invest in truly sustainable products and methodologies. As things stand, the lack of reporting standards and environmental laws combined with the ease of glossy advertising makes the line between good intentions and green-washing very thin.
According to a survey of nearly 1,500 executives conducted by The Harris Poll between late December and mid-January, 58% said their organizations were guilty of “greenwashing” and 66% expressed doubts about the authenticity of certain programs. of sustainable development. The survey, conducted in 16 countries on behalf of Google Cloud, found that 71% of retail and consumer packaged goods companies felt ESG efforts were a priority, the highest among industries included in the results.
Grove’s strategy is not to alienate consumers. While filming the campaign in February at a home in Montclair, New Jersey, Barrymore was originally supposed to sing and dance with the rest of the cast. But if the goal, she said, was to go against the grain, shouldn’t she be doing just that? Or would that make her look smug?
“I hate know-it-alls,” Barrymore says. “The judgment, the pressure, all of that just doesn’t speak to me. . . If there’s one tone that depresses me the most on planet Earth, it’s smugness.
Perhaps part of the reason she feels this way is that she, too, is new to sustainability. She drove a Toyota Prius for almost a decade, but insisted on drinking from styrofoam cups to keep her drinks cold. Then, in 2019 during the inaugural season of The Drew Barrymore Showshe invited her best friend, actress and environmental activist Cameron Diaz, to make an appearance.
Diaz had challenged Barrymore for two decades to live a more sustainable life. So, during the show’s pilot episode, Barrymore got down on one knee and “offered” Diaz to personally do more to protect the environment. And while Barrymore admits she doesn’t always feel like the changes she’s making at home are enough to make an impact, and thinks companies like Grove need to lead the charge.
“You see Burger King doing the Impossible Burger,” Barrymore says. “That was just three years ago, and the vegan movement is everywhere. All it does is take a spark to start a fire. It’s about big companies and companies making these giant changes.