Public Resource
Why Human Stories Always Win
John Marshall and Jessica Lu. Potential Energy

Messages that consistently outperform other content center people and their stories. Again and again, whether the topic was jobs, extreme weather, or the scientific facts of overheating, one finding seemed to stand head and shoulders above the rest: Advertisements with human faces win. A natural, casual conversation between two moms—one a climate scientist, and one an everyday American who had some questions about how (and why) wildfires were getting worse—increased strong support for immediate climate action by 12.0%, compared to a provocative ad that highlighted the constant “state of emergency” we often find ourselves in due to extreme weather, which increased strong support by 3.4%. Another recent campaign specific to California showcased the individual humans most affected by the headlines many have become immune to: A headline about a drought is easy to ignore, but the face of a farmer is hard to forget—this campaign led to a 14.2% increase in strong support for climate action. Overall, find the humans, humanize the headlines, connect on shared values, and lift up unexpected messengers.