It’s the End of the World as We Know It

...And Keith Richards Feels Fine

Today is Earth Day and in honor I review the current Louis Vuitton campaign for The Climate Project, Al Gore’s nonprofit wherein some 2,300 volunteers in the United States, Australia, Spain, India, the UK and Canada deliver a version of the Nobelist’s famous climate change slideshow.

Strictly speaking this isn’t cause-related marketing. If you buy the Vuitton suitcase in the photo a donation is not made to The Climate Project. Still, I think there’s value for cause marketers to study this advertising campaign meant to call attention to Vuitton’s efforts on environmental sustainability and to the mission of The Climate Project.

A quote from Al Gore on the Vuitton website puts it this way, “The Climate Project has made great strides in educating people all over the world about climate change and the solutions that will be necessary to solve the crisis. We welcome Louis Vuitton as a valuable partner in advancing this message.”

The art to the left is a billboard from, but I first saw the ad in Time magazine’s April 2008 Style & Design issue.

In the magazine the copy reads: “Some Journeys cannot be put into words. New York. 3 a.m. Blues in C. Keith Richards and Louis Vuitton are proud to support The Climate Project.”

Luis Vuitton, the French leather goods company and fashion house, is currently running several versions of the campaign in luxury magazines. There’s also one with Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi in an embrace. But the art in that version… both shot by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz… is entirely too romantic and fresh looking and, well, boring.

By contrast, you can’t take your eyes off this image of the marvelously dissipated and leathery Keith Richards, age 64.

At the risk of parsing this out too far on Earth Day, I wonder if the two photographs don’t represent two different views of where we stand with climate change.

On the one hand there’s the almost dewy version with Agassi and Graff; two fit, youngish, beautiful people, the parents of two small children with a hopeful lifetime ahead of them! In this version there’s plenty of time to change.

Then there’s the view represented by Richards’ photograph; rich, indulgent, squandered and almost certainly nearly dead. In this version time is all but up.

Happy Earth Day!

Labels: , , , , , ,