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COP26 / How we helped SSE power change

COP26 was all about the pressing and vital need to take action, and save the world from catastrophic climate change. That said, here at Ouno we had our own small challenges keeping us busy in the lead up to the conference.

While the world battled to come together at COP26, we overcame our own challenges to deliver three ‘live signing’ experiences for energy company SSE at the historic Glasgow summit.

SSE hired us on the strength of our powerful portfolio of past digital brand experience work, to pitch them ideas for COP26. They already had a ‘Sign Up To Change’ initiative; gathering signatures in support of renewable energy, to be etched into a 108m blade on a turbine at Dogger Bank – the world’s largest offshore windfarm.

To support this initiative, they chose to go with a virtual fly-through that plummeted from low earth orbit all the way down to Dogger Bank at sea level before sweeping up to finally rest atop a colossal 260m Haliade-X turbine, for a birdseye view of the huge windfarm.

All we had to do was build it (and the ‘live signing’ app that would be layered over it) In four weeks.

To achieve this monumental task, we storyboarded, modelled and stitched together several multi-layered 3D scenes, testing and applying complex environmental effects, to create a near-photo realistic journey. Meanwhile, the ‘live signing’ app was coded, tested and refined. This was done in-house, with our own people and our own powerful rendering stations.

To a soundtrack of wind and waves, the call of seabirds, and the hum of the giant turbine, world leaders were invited to digitally sign up to the call for change. As signatures appeared over our oceanic vista, many paused for a photo opportunity.

Signatories included Boris Johnson and members of the cabinet, Justin Trudeau and other heads of state, US Senator Ocasio-Cortez, Head of COP Alok Sharma, Ellie Goulding and other celebrity ambassadors and speakers, as well as many other delegates, supporters and members of the public.

Needless to say, SSE were very pleased.

SSE’s Head of Brand and Design, Suzie Rook said, “We wanted to offer world leaders, VIPs and senior delegates in the highly secure Blue Zone the chance to experience up close the scale and power of offshore wind. Ouno developed a concept whereby world leaders and delegates would be transported to the very top of a turbine. Despite extremely tight deadlines and operating within the complexities of such a high profile event, Ouno rose to the challenge and the result is outstanding.”

Glenn Barber, SSE Group Director of Corporate Affairs said, “World leaders took the opportunity to interact with this experience, which has been highly publicised. As the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank is a unique symbol of climate action, and through this immersive experience at COP26, SSE hope to inspire the many more projects of this scale needed to accelerate the clean energy transition globally.”

This was our most complex challenge to date: Far from home, post-Brexit, with prices and COVID both surging, with national shortages of materials and of HGV drivers, within the ultra-secure ‘VIP’ heart of a high security global conference, with the world’s media in attendance, there was nowhere to hide. Against these seemingly insurmountable odds, we delivered and ran not one but three versions of this experience at COP26, without missing a beat.

Now, if we can just save the world from catastrophic climate change, we can all go home.

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