Living on Thin Ice: How Polar Bears Were Used to Dramatize the IPCC Report's Release

i-d01087945b9de4f6bdb5eb779051408f-Coke.jpgThe Guardian has the details on the PR tactic of polar bear photos to (over)dramatize the impacts of global warming, tracing the idea to a 1993 Coca-Cola campaign. Here's a little bit about the strategic use of "cuddly anthropomorphism on the tundra":

One photograph in particular has captured the imagination. In a neat piece of marketing, the Canadian Ice Service made available a stunning image to coincide with the IPCC report. Two bears, probably a mother and her cub, are pictured on a spectacular ice block off northern Alaska that might have been modelled by Henry Moore. They appear to be howling against injustice. The drama is clear: this is truly the tip of an iceberg, the bears are desperately stranded as the water swells around them. The first thought among viewers is surely one of pity and concern, but this is to misjudge the situation: polar bears are reasonable swimmers, and certainly climbed upon such sculptures centuries before we climbed into our 4x4s. 'Initially I thought the picture was a Photoshop fake,' Dr Ian Stirling, senior research scientist with the Canadian Wildlife Service, emails from his home in Edmonton. 'But I have since checked and it is authentic. There is no doubt the photo is used because of its dramatic effect, and it is true it does not represent the kind of sea ice bears normally live on and depend upon for hunting seals.'


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i like bacon

By Anonymous (not verified) on 09 May 2008 #permalink


By Anonymous (not verified) on 01 May 2009 #permalink

If global Warming is a real threat why are governments and private agencies using it as a way to bilk billions of dollars from the people of Earth? Why can't we fix the problem without breaking the World Economy? Carbon credits are bad policy unless they are made to be non transferable. The way it is set up Company A (a windmill farm) generates credits that they'll never use so the can sell them for millions to Company B who gross pollutes the air. Cap & Trade is little better than a World Wide Extortion racket.

By David Hanna (not verified) on 02 Dec 2010 #permalink

Ok for the sake of argument lets say that global warming is happening and that it is in fact killing off the polar bears. Please tell me why I should care if they go extinct. Sure the little ones are cute and the big ones are kind of cool looking but they are not a necessary part of the environment. They eat, they sleep, they provide advertisement for Coke-a-Cola and that is about it. Do you really care so much that in o so many years your kids might not get to see one in a zoo? Why do people care so much if some animal disappears from the earth?

By Robert F. McMa… (not verified) on 21 Oct 2007 #permalink

Why don't you care is the big question?

i love polar bgears and i love the coca-cola bear it is so cute

By katrian tiernan (not verified) on 30 Oct 2008 #permalink