Film Parlays Green Message Into $25M Marketing Support

The story of Universal Pictures' "Evan Almighty" focuses on God (Morgan Freeman) asking newsman-turned-Congressman Evan Baxter (Steve Carrell) to build an ark--à la Noah--in preparation for an impending flood.

Marketers have hoped the obvious biblical references will resonate with Christian audiences; now, boosted by $25 million in marketing support from a consortium of companies, the film's message is being spun as one of impending environmental disaster--à la Al Gore.

Universal's parent company, GE, via its ecomagination campaign, has partnered with Dell, Bear Naked, Sheraton, Travelocity, BP Solar and the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos to commit $25 million in support of the film's "Get On Board" environmentally conscious cause marketing campaign. Riffing off the idea of getting on board the ark in the film, the campaign, featured at, encourages environmentally responsible behavior.

GE ecomagination will run in-theater ads in 13,000 AMC, Regal and Cinemark theaters. Bear Naked and BP Solar are both sponsoring sweepstakes tie-ins with the film.



"Evan Almighty" is being billed as a zero-emission production. Despite a production budget that reportedly ballooned north of $175 million, the film is "the first big movie comedy to zero out its impact on the environment." The film's carbon footprint was offset by a $2 million donation by Universal to the Conservation Fund. All the landscaping, lumber, windows and other reusable materials were donated to Habitat for Humanity, all crew members were given bicycles to reduce car usage, and recycled paper, plastic, aluminum and glass were used on set.

After production was completed, trees were planted near the site of the ark in Crozet, Va., as a thank you to the community. The "Evan Almighty" campaign has taken on that idea and, in partnership with the Conservation Fund, launched the "Almighty Forest" on the "Get On Board" Web site, where visitors are encouraged to make a $5 donation that will fund the planting of trees to offset carbon dioxide omissions. Contributors will have their names included on the "Evan Almighty" DVD.

All environmentally conscious marketing partners will make donations to the "Almighty Forest."

More than 17,000 trees have been planted already, with major contributions coming from corporate sponsors Burger King and Coca-Cola.

NBC Universal announced last month that it had adopted "Get On Board" across its entire company, saying it will seek to lower emissions and improve energy efficiency across all its operations by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 3% by 2012 and expressing a commitment to environmentally conscious film and TV production.

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