Artists, Makers, Thinkers
The Brief Sabotage Handbook
Hey James, who are you and what are you doing right now?
Hello. I’m the founder of a creative collective called Glimpse. We’re an open network of creative people who want to use our skills for good. We’re trying to imagine how creativity can be used to show a ‘glimpse’ of a better world, and make people aspire to it.
Right now I’m sitting in a glorified shed at the end of my garden in Frome. Sometimes I go outside and weed the vegetables between calls, but not today.
The Brief Sabotage Handbook is a brilliant idea, how did it come about?
We’ve just started a new campaign to help young creatives find their voice on climate change. We know that most of them are pretty worried, but don’t feel like they can speak out at work when they’re early on in their careers.
So a group of young Glimpse creatives came up with this idea of a ‘sabotage handbook’ for people working at agencies with oil and gas clients. It gives them tips on how to wreck a fossil fuel brief without getting busted. They’re all fairly silly, like this one:
“Poke Bowls: Whether it's late working, edit sessions, or off site meals, you should be ordering poke bowls all the time. Poke bowls are expensive, and extra toppings are a rip-off. If anyone ever questions this, say that all the poke bowls were plant-based, and it would be hypocritical to decline these expenses on an environmental brief.”
We handed out about 200 copies of this handbook at agencies like Ogilvy, Edelman and Wunderman Thompson who are known to work with oil companies like Shell and BP. We also had an outdoor brainstorm to ask staff for their tips. We didn’t get many gems tbh.
Why now and why young creatives?
There’s loads of scary stuff I could say about climate change here, but you’ve probably seen it all before. The thing you might not know is that oil companies still spend around 95% of their investment on new oil and gas wells, despite all the windmills and smiley people in their ads.
This is called greenwash, and it’s a huge problem. We want young talent to move away from doing this kind of greenwashing work as much as possible. The more creatives say no (or choose not to work for the agency in the first place) the harder it will be to get away with it.
Beyond this, we think there is a huge opportunity for young creatives to help shape the world we do want. So the next stage in this campaign will be about helping them point in that direction.
To borrow a phrase from agency land: what does success look like for this campaign?
At this stage we’re just looking for eyeballs. We want loads of young people to see what we’re doing, engage with it, and hopefully join in. That means we need social sharing, press coverage, word of mouth, all that jazz. That’s where Something & Nothing is helping, so thank you.
The ultimate aim is to make working on ‘high carbon’ clients (which means oil companies, SUV makers, short haul-airlines etc) as toxic as working on tobacco or arms sales for young creatives. It’s not there yet, but I believe it’s only a matter of time.
If you’re under 30 or know someone who would be interested in the campaign, they can join us at wreckthebrief.org
How can other people (not just young creatives) get in on the action?
The first thing is to join the Glimpse collective list - at weglimpse.co. This is actually the first time we’ve run a campaign for a particular age group, normally we’re open to all. We also really need help from more senior people for advice, and to get the word out.
Please invite us to speak with young creatives you know (online or in person), comment or share our comment pieces (even if you disagree), and engage on social media. It all really helps.
What's next for Glimpse?
This advertising campaign is going to be a big focus for our work. We’re also working on a totally new concept called the Glimpse Season, where small groups of members come together to help local nature and climate charities close to where they live.
The idea is to combine practical, hands on creativity with walks and nature connection exercises linked to the autumn or winter solstice. We think a lot of people are feeling a bit rootless at the moment, and we want to help them get away from their screens and feel more connected to their local land and community.
It seems like none of us really know how to ‘be’ in the world in a fulfilling and connected way at this moment in history. We just want to try stuff out and see what feels right.
Tell us about Something
Something feels really important
Tell us about Nothing
Nothing might actually be the answer