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Volvo’s short film about saving an endangered kestrel will make you feel hopeful about climate change

“The Birdman” is a stylish, short biography of Professor Carl Jones and his quest to save endangered species.

Volvo’s short film about saving an endangered kestrel will make you feel hopeful about climate change
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There are not a lot of connections between a Swedish carmaker and the Mauritius kestrel. The former is Volvo, while the latter is a rare bird. Now thanks to the brand’s ongoing “Defiant Pioneers” content partnership with UK broadcaster Sky Atlantic, one such connection has been made.

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“The Birdman” is the newest short film produced by Volvo and its agency Grey London, featuring Professor Carl Jones, an acclaimed conservation biologist and chief scientist at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, an international charity that works to save endangered species. Jones narrates how his experience helping to save the kestrel informs his overall optimism for our current quest to combat climate change.

It’s the latest film in Volvo and Sky Atlantic’s “Defiant Pioneers” content partnership, which began back in 2016, a stylish collection of compelling stories. It began with engineer Oliver Armitage’s pursuit of prostheses innovation, and has included profiles of Swedish entrepreneurs who salvage boat wrecks from the Stockholm archipelago and a school teacher who introduces the ocean to his students.

Overall, the goal behind the series has been to build up Volvo’s brand image as “a more innovative, up-to-date and modern brand with an increased reputation for quality.” It’s managed to do so, citing the first two years of the campaign as helping it have its highest sales in 25 years. Not only does “The Birdman” and these other films tie back to the company’s ambitious sustainability goals—reducing its CO2 emissions per car by 40% by 2025 and becoming climate neutral by 2040—but it does it with commercial content running on a broadcast network as entertainment that’s actually interesting.

Something about as rare as a Mauritius kestrel.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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