Cannes Lions

Financial Times Turn Predictive Data Model into 15 minute Climate Change Game

WONGDOODY, Seattle / FINANCIAL TIMES / 2023

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Financial Times readers demand trusted fact-based journalism on climate change. They feel the weight of responsibility that comes with power, coupled with urgent need for climate action.

The same audience are time-poor and require compelling storytelling and interactive experiences to engage in complex subjects like reaching net zero by 2050.

This is an opportunity to reach the most influential people on climate change—to educate, persuade, influence, and even urge the people who can make a seismic change—in either direction—to the climate crisis.

In an interplay of ideas and information, we created a landmark piece of immersive journalism that distills advanced predictive data modeling produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA) into a fifteen-minute multi-path game with 400 scientifically accurate choices that make a real-world roadmap to net zero.

The data is real. The choices are real. The chance to influence leaders in a new way is real.

Idea

We produced a landmark “choose your own adventure” game that puts the reader in the driver’s seat as the game’s political protagonist, the “Global Minister for Future Generations”.

Through the creative use of data, we simplified the road to net zero emissions to create an experience that would engage policymakers and non-specialist audiences alike.

The Climate Game had to be scientifically accurate without crushing hope, and it had to capture the complexities of the data journey to net zero through advanced predictive data modeling, without being too daunting for the player.

The International Energy Agency’s ‘Net Zero by 2050’ report – the world’s first comprehensive study of how to shift to a clean energy system – provided the framework. Climate scientists, modellers and policy experts produced the bespoke predictive data model and complex decision trees the game was built upon.

Strategy

We modeled a narrative decision tree using Excel, underpinned by source information, the sophisticated data modeling was provided by the International Energy Agency.

The navigation and game design showcase the different ways our choices today impact the climate tomorrow. We distilled hundreds of potential decisions into a guided challenge where the players’ actions across 400 decision points and four stages drive the journey to net zero.

The satisfaction of playing comes from the sense of control over the results and the puzzle of working out how things interact. There are numerous ways to affect the emissions model to amplify different outcomes which tempts players to play it again.

Execution

We produced a landmark “choose your own adventure” game that puts the reader in the driver’s seat as the game’s political protagonist, the “Global Minister for Future Generations”.

Through the creative use of data, we simplified the road to net zero emissions to create an experience that would engage policymakers and non-specialist audiences alike.

The International Energy Agency’s ‘Net Zero by 2050’ report – the world’s first comprehensive study of how to shift to a clean energy system – provided the framework. Climate scientists, modellers and policy experts produced the bespoke predictive data model and complex decision trees the game was built upon.

Outcome

The Climate Change Game launched in April 2022 on the FT homepage, reaching 22.5 million monthly readers overnight. The game was such a success that it was covered by rival global publications, with over 8 million impressions across digital, social and PR.

Today the game has been played over 900,000 times. Over half the players successfully complete the game, with around 30% learning how to ‘win’ and reach global net zero by 2050.

The Climate Game was invited to the COP 27 climate conference, where the game received praise from multiple United Nations members and NGOs.

High-ranking climate change advocates and everyday gamers, including UN High-Level Climate Champion Nigel Topping, streamed their play-throughs with commentary on YouTube andTwitch.

The game is now used by teachers to create lesson plans in sixth form colleges.

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