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Boaz Paldi of UNDP and Florian Weischer of SAWA Fireside Chat at Cannes Lions – UNDP “Don’t Choose Extinction”

SDG Lounge

Boaz Paldi of UNDP and Florian Weischer of SAWA Fireside Chat at Cannes Lions – UNDP “Don’t Choose Extinction”

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Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer of UNDP interviews Florian Weischer, President of SAWA live from the SDG Lounge at Cannes Loins – (Cannes, France)

Highlights 

  • SAWA and cinema industry continues to strengthen as major blockbusters hit record highs.
  • UNDP-SAWA partnership drives climate short film to cinemas. 30 countries 16 languages. 
  • “Don’t Choose extinction” reaches a record audience of 1.8 billion views worldwide.

Brought to Cannes by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), PVBLIC Foundation, SAWA and EarthX, Frankie the Dino stars in the UN agency’s film on climate action called “Don’t Choose Extinction.”

This first-ever film made inside the UN General Assembly using computer-generated imagery (CGI) reached a global audience of 1.8 billion. Thanks to UNDP’s partnership with SAWA Cinema Advertising Association and the Global Cinema Medium, the short film screened as an ad for eight weeks in movie theaters across 30 countries in 16 languages.

Off-screen, Frankie the Dino came to life and became the week’s main attraction at the Cannes Lions international creative festival. See related article.

FULL COVERAGE

Watch complete Cannes Lion coverage of the UNDP “Don’t Choose extinction” and the SDG Lounge special segments here.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS: 

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer, UNDP (00:00): Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer of UNDP and Florian Weischer, President of SAWA

Good morning. Thank you for joining us today. I’m Boaz Paldi. I am the Chief Creative Officer of the United Nations Development Program. We are here today at the SDG Media Lounge and with our partners, the PVBLIC Foundation and SAWA the Global Cinema Advertising Association with me today is the president of SAWA Florian Weischer also Chairman of the Weischer Group. And we are going to have a little conversation about what what, what Florian himself as an individual does for the SDGs and what, and what and what, what, what SAWA has been doing all these years, Florian you’ve, you’ve been supporting the SDGs personally, and, and, and, and with your business. Yes. Since from the very, very beginning. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Yes.

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (00:47):

So, first of all, thank you for this kind introduction. It was alright. <Laugh> yes, suppose it started some years ago and, and 2014, when we, as a trade buddy, got to know that the UN were about to release the, the formerly called global goals in 2015. So we were one year ahead and we got in contact with the UN in, in New York and said, okay, as a medium, we want to do something for good. And we want to do something that is relevant. And we feel that maybe these nowadays sustainable development goals can be, let’s say one of the biggest campaigns ever in marketing. And so as a medium, it, we want to prove that we can deliver. And we want to prove that we are, you know, on the right side to, to do things that we think are really relevant for the planet. And of course I’m, I’m personally affected by this I’m, I’m, I’m living, you know, next to a river that’s connected with the north sea <laugh>. So the water is just meters away from me. And, and I know what it means, and I can see it. So this is the personal side, but the business side says, okay, yes, we, as a, let’s say, as, as a, as a global medium, we want to do something

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer, UNDP (01:56):

And, and, and cinema as a global medium, what what’s you know, I don’t want to be you know, too cars about it, but, but what do you get out of it? What, what what’s, what’s the benefit to you?

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (02:09):

I think really the first point is being relevant, being relevant to people that go to the movies because that’s their choice. And if they see something on the big screen that really appeals to them and say, yes, this cinema stands for the right thing. It will help the cinema and it will help us and becoming a bit more visible. And I think the, the fact that we were able within weeks to arrange a global campaign around the world was I think some 65 companies that are within SAWA to have that campaign on the screen. I think that was something that we wanted to demonstrate to the industry saying, okay, yes, we are medium. That is accountable, and that works, and that can also deliver a global result if need be. So, and for, for us, it made us, you know, more relevant in our market.

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (02:58):

It was easier to get in contact with potential clients for, let’s say, regular screen advertising by saying, okay, look, this is what we’ve done. And we feel this is really something you should support as well. So we were lobbying to get more partners for, for the campaign. And also we are, we are just doing our business. And I think the other side of the success for us is that it’s so relevant to the people that work with us because they feel okay, this company is really standing for, for purpose. And if you look at the young generations we want to attract, and it’s getting more and more difficult from year to year and they’re really looking okay, what does this company stand for? And I think these campaigns we’re running with the UN is always, let’s say our introduction to talking to these people. And some of them, they just know it and they know because our logo is integrated into it. And that that’s a huge help in disrespect.

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer, UNDP (03:55):

And, and, you know, recently you joined the campaign that UNDP launched the Don’t Choose Extinction Campaign. If you haven’t seen it yet, please go to don’tchooseextinction.com, check it out. It’s got a dinosaur barging into the United Nations and saying a few choice words about extinction what made you join that campaign? And do you think you know, this campaign is all about climate change. Do you think the cinema medium can do more for, for climate change?

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (04:20):

Yes. I think I, I think we can, because we have these young audiences and it’s really hard to reach them through other media maybe except social. I think we have an impact because people are concentrated. They, they, they, they watch and listen for 60 seconds without, you know, there’s no interruption to it. <Laugh> the phones are down. And this is a unique chance to really communicate something that is complex and, and climate change is not easy. I mean, it’s not, not, it can’t be told in, in, in seven seconds. That’s impossible. I think. Yes. it would change the mind of young people. And if we do so then we can have hope that this young generation may do the change because our generation, I mean, we tried our best <laugh> for both of us, I’m sure, but our generation really it up. So to be honest, and I think if we think that there is a, is a solution to it, the young people have to make it.

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer, UNDP (05:15):

But yeah, I, I, I, a hundred percent agree with you on that. You know, I’m, I’m a, I’m a big movie lover myself. I, I went to film school. Yeah. I wanted to be the next John Luke Goddard. It didn’t quite work out that way. I’m a bit sad about it still, but, but, You know, like,

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (05:30):

But you do great campaigns. I mean, <laugh>

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer, UNDP (05:33):

So, you know, this is my consolation prize. Yeah. Okay. But but I love the movie. There’s nothing like the experience of going to the movies, lights going down, film starts, and you’re immersed in this, in this thing. And, and you know, I’m, I’m a little bit worried about the, the, the cinema industry I’m really worried about about cinemas. Yes. What’s, what’s your projection. Do you think that, that you guys can, you know come from COVID you suffered very, very badly in COVID. Yeah. But do you think you can come back?

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (06:02):

We are coming back <laugh> already, but I agree both in the, on, on the first step, going back to March, 2020, when COVID reached Europe and Germany, we got two days let’s say pre-warning before the lockdown two days and we know, okay, within 48 hours, your business has stopped. It has come to a full stop, nothing there from there on that was a shock to me because I’d never expected that this could happen. I mean, we’ve seen a couple of crisis through the past decades, but nothing like that. So no one ever stopped cinema from just doing opening the doors. So, and then it was closed for month for many months. So we had two difficulties, really. We had two difficulties, but in the end, the company’s still alive. The cinemas are still alive. And what we see this year is that let’s say the, the, the blockbuster thing works, I would say even better than before the pandemic we have results for, for, for, for the big the big movies, like, like James Bond or now Maverick recently is, is the most successful to Tom cruise movie in Germany ever.

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (07:14):

We expect, or we, we just started Jurassic world. That’s a perfect bridge to Frankie <laugh>. I think he did in the opening night, only 150,000 admissions in Germany, which is a lot just in the opening night. That means that it’s from, you know, from, from midnight on. So I’m, I’m really seeing that people are coming back because there is no other experience to, to see a movie that you can really share that you can do together. I mean, you can sit with your family and watching TV or Netflix. Okay. That’s I do that also <laugh>, but I think if you want to have this experience with 300 other people to see and to feel what they think about what’s happening on the big screen, I think there’s no other way than just go to the cinema. So I’m, I’m optimistic. It will be not, let’s say a success here everywhere around the globe. There are countries that still suffer, but I think for those who are able to manage the pandemic it’s doing well,

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer, UNDP (08:15):

I, I, I, you now, Frankie is the film don’t choose extinction is running in 30 countries in 16 languages across the world. We are having a huge amount of audiences come and see Frankie to drive climate action. I just last week a me big media company called, called me up on LinkedIn and said they can have a meeting with me. So someone that I’ve been trying to have a meeting with for a long time, that weren’t really taking my meetings and suddenly they were asking me for a meeting. So, so we had a meeting. Yeah. And where we might have a partnership with this with this media company. So it’s really having already a huge impact even through just that, just one little act, which is just you know, one of many but, but it’s but we are very, very grateful to SAWA and to you and to your, your CEO, Cheryl Wannell, to, to push this out. What, what, what do you think should be the next step with with, with,

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (09:09):

Yes, I think was, that’s really the relevant question at the moment. How can we broaden this campaign? Can we bring other media into that? We are happy if that will happen. And that’s why we’re pitching for it. We both, and we made a lot of contacts here at Canne Lions from other media saying, okay, yes, we’re interested because we see this is relevant and it it’s, it’s a good campaign. That’s your work <laugh>. So if we can bring other media channels to it I think that’s great. I would love to see if we could integrate social media as well, but I see that’s difficult to do because the format that we are using <laugh> is quite quite long. But you know, I, I, I posted a picture with with Frankie on my very small and more private LinkedIn channel, but it, it got some 2000 views overnight. And that’s a success for me.

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer, UNDP (10:03):

That’s, that’s a success for me too.

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (10:06):

And, and the responses we get and the and the comments are, are really positive. And Frankie seems to be someone, even though he’s not, not real you know, people really feel attracted to that and, and they love him in the first second. So that was, that was a, I think that was a great idea.

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer, UNDP (10:24):

And just as a one, one final question what’s you know, do you, do you believe that that the, that you, we can continue the partnership with SAWA with the, with the global cinema medium to really kind of push the agenda of climate change of the SDGs? What, what would be the best way of doing that?

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (10:44):

Yes, I would say, okay, what we do right now is it seems to be successful for, for our, our member companies around the globe as well. So that that’s something that secures more or less, that they are going to participate in the future. But from, let’s say, from my point of view, as a president, and from what I know from Cheryl as a CEO of SAWA, she’s very much after it that we want to continue with it, because if you look at sustainability, what does it really mean? If it’s, it’s a, you know, it’s a one shot wonder that’s has nothing to do with sustainability. We are now doing it for seven years, and I hope that we can do it at least for another seven, because then the connection between this medium cinema, the NDP and, and the SDGs is, you know, is, is really learned. And so if you ask me yes, I’m up for it.

Boaz Paldi, Chief Creative Officer, UNDP (11:32):

Thank you so much. Thank you everyone for joining us. We’ll we’ll please go to the website and and check out don’t choose extinction.com. Thank you to our partners again the SAWA the, and, and the PVBLIC Foundation. 

Florian Weischer, President, SAWA (11:47):

Thanks.

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