Web unveils Switch campaign

LONDON — The U.S. receives a bad press in Europe from green campaigners battling climate change, but Viacom-owned MTV aims to provide a green role model for the global youth market.

Following its Staying Alive Aids campaign, MTV Networks International Wednesday unveiled its latest public service onslaught.

MTV Switch hopes to persuade the world’s youth to cut their carbon emissions and help save the planet by launching an initiative aimed at “slowing the acceleration of global warming.”

The campaign, backed by such celebrities as Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Good Charlotte, Enrique Iglesias, Shaggy and Rufus Wainwright, hopes to reach a potential audience of 1.5 billion people.

MTV Networks topper Bill Roedy said: “We are facing a tipping point on climate change and we need to act now.

“The MTV Switch campaign seeks to empower our viewers to make simple behavioral changes to have a profound impact on conserving energy.

“The statistics are staggering. If less than 1% of our total potential viewing audience — roughly one million people — switches to three energy efficient light bulbs, this would be equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road.”

Via public service announcements, TV programs and online activities, MTV Switch intends to promote environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.

Initiative will bow Thursday on 55 MTV channels in 162 countries plus 44 online and 16 mobile offerings.

MTV said that more than 25 third-party broadcasters have agreed to air the campaign. They include Community Channel (U.K.), RTP (Portugal), ERT (Greece), UJRT (Serbia), LBC (Lebanon), Metro TV (Indonesia), ITV (Tanzania) and TV6 (Trinidad).

Ad agency 180 Los Angeles has created a series of promos for MTV Switch. They feature two characters — one depicting Planet Earth — illustrating lifestyle changes people could make to slow down climate change, such as using air conditioning and aerosols less.

Even “Pimp My Ride” is getting a green makeover as the skein gives a ’65 Chevy Impala an 800 horsepower diesel engine that will run on biodiesel as part of an MTV U.S.-produced show.

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