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Ecobee leverages humor in a heated discussion with climate change skeptics

Ecobee cranked up the heat on climate change doubters. On Thursday, April 18, in observance of Earth Day, Ecobee and ad agency DCX released video clips of a social experiment that tested the effectiveness of humor in easing tension during discussions with climate change skeptics. When the group laughed, the talks became more open, Business Wire reported.

Ecobee/DCX theorized that if they could get climate change skeptics laughing while talking about climate, the conversations would be more open. To test their theory, the group facilitators turned up the room temperature during the talks. Eventually, the room temperature rose to more than 100 degrees.

When the groups realized the reason for the rising heat in the room, thankfully the original hypothesis proved to be true. When laughter broke out about the contrived weather, earlier tension around the topic eased, and participants engaged more personally and less dismissively. As the discussions progressed, the facilitators added simulated smog and high winds.

Ecobee’s founders started the company to help people reduce energy consumption. The Earth Day event was an attempt to stimulate discussion and raise global awareness of the need to conserve energy. Echobee took the risk of heating the focus group room to test the effect of humor at breaking down barriers between people even talking about climate change and energy use.

“The discussion around climate change is one of the most important issues we face, and yet we’re at a point where millions dismiss it outright as a political issue,” said Jackie Poriadjian-Asch, Ecobee’s chief marketing officer and chief revenue officer. “This is not a political issue; it’s a planet issue. Our approach may have been excessive, but we were willing to go to extremes to spark a much-needed discussion. Confronting the realities of climate change can feel overwhelming, but we firmly believe that each of us has the power to make a significant impact.”

DCX was also on board with the experiments because the company knew that conventional messaging about climate issues didn’t work.

“In our research, we found that many climate skeptics were rejecting sustainability messaging as either preachy or highly political,” explained Doug Cameron, DCX chief creative officer. “So, we wondered if a fresh approach might be needed.”

Ecobee smart thermostats excel in Digital Trends test, and the Ecobee4 and Ecobee3 Lite models are two of our favorites, but the focus groups with DCX weren’t intended to test consumer response to smart home products. Ecobee says it is committed to opening discussions about climate change with people on all sides of the issue.

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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