SAN DIEGO, Calif., October 23, 2018 – Scientific study establishes many benefits of plants and nature in the places we live, work, and play. It nevertheless remains a challenge to figure out new ways to communicate the message.
The nonprofit organization Green Plants for Green Buildings found a way to get your attention: humor.
Most people have seen a typical technology product launch video by now, such as classic demonstrations by Steve Jobs of new products for Apple. Some are pretty impressive. GPGB followed this familiar format in the first of a video series for a product “so far ahead of its time, and yet so familiar, intuitive and appealing – it’s a wonder we didn’t see it the whole time.”
“Rediscover The Future With The Living Plant™” uses humor to play off the on the tech product unveiling. The presenter dazzles the amazed audience with a plant for some laughs to make a point about the proven benefits of introducing nature via real plants into the workplace.
See the three minute video here.
Backed by science
Buildings that contain plants and other natural elements support human well being and performance – what the tech presenter calls a “dead office.” You might be sitting in one right now. Workers in office environments with natural elements such as greenery and sunlight report a 15 percent improvement in their wellbeing. They are six percent more productive and are 15 percent more creative.
There is also plenty of research about the use of humor to help people learn and retain information. A Pew Research poll showed viewers of humorous news shows like The Daily Show have higher retention of facts than people who got their news from newspapers or cable TV news. When Stephen Colbert talks about politics, people hear it and remember.
Neuroscience research finds that our ability to learn better through humor has to do with the body’s chemistry. When we feel good – like when we laugh – the power hormone dopamine floods our brain. Cognitive studies show dopamine is important for both motivation and long-term memory. Educational research finds retention goes up when humor is used effectively – meaning that it’s age-relevant, inclusive, and light hearted.
Scientists have 40 years of research on educational humor showing it strengthens human connections and is a helpful learning tool. So it was time to put humor to work for Mother Nature.
Award-winning filmmaker creates the message
GPGB worked with award-winning filmmaker Justin Bogardus, director and creator of the “Nature Rx” series of videos spoofing pharmaceutical ads which we have shared before. Justin created the TED Talk Tech spoof to communicate the aesthetic, wellbeing, and economic benefits of nature in the built environment. This includes offices, homes and just about anywhere people gather indoors.
GPGB wants to replicate the success of the Nature Rx video series. It’s gotten over 40 million social media views to date and has been called “Best Drug Commercial You’ll Ever See” by Outside Magazine.
GPGB President Mike Senneff says, “We have seen other videos in our industry about the benefits of plants, everything from the NASA studies to infographics. They are all informative. But nobody really approached it as – let’s share the message, but let’s share it in a way that’s more memorable. If it gets out there and people enjoy viewing it, perhaps it can have a much broader reach than a simple informative video … We think our message can go further if it’s done in a humorous way.”
Bogardus agrees. “In telling a story through film/video, humor is a great connector and eye opener to new things, and also the undeniable truth of things. The same part of the brain that says “a-ha” is connected to the sense of surprise and delight we get from laughter and humor.
“For instance – everyone knows your office or commercial space, really any indoor space is way better with a bunch of plants. People are happier, people connect more easily, they’re healthier. It’s funny how easily we forget this and create these deadening blank lifeless interiors. The good and humorous news is – we can fix it with the amazing things folks are doing with plants and living walls now.”
Real TEDx audience plays along for the video shoot
Justin’s video produced and filmed in front of a real TEDx audience live. “When you hear Steve Jobs or folks introducing new software, new apps, or new robots, the language and tropes they use are really hilarious,” points out Bogardus. “So yes, I parody these formats. I hope folks get some good laughs and remember, when it comes to the incredible benefits of The LivingPlant™ in the office or commercial space, we all sort of know this already.”
Mike Lewis, Executive Vice President of Foliage Design Systems in Orlando, Florida, felt motivated to fund the project to support its serious objectives. “The message about plants improving our living and working environments needs to get out … This video has the potential to do just that in a fun and creative way.”