On the chance that President Trump does not mention climate change during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Seventh Generation, a company known for eco-friendly products, has taken steps to make the issue is a prime-time talking point.
Once Mr. Trump has finished speaking and the television analysts have offered their initial thoughts, a 60-second commercial for Seventh Generation is scheduled to be the first advertisement shown on ABC, CBS and NBC.
In an effort to draw a parallel between the World War II generation and today’s young people, the commercial intercuts images and audio of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1943 State of the Union address with recent shots of marches by climate-change activists. Before the Seventh Generation brand name appears, there is a tagline: “What if we were meant to be the next greatest generation?”
After the commercial, the networks are set to broadcast the Democrats’ response to Mr. Trump, who has referred to climate change as both “a hoax” and a “serious subject.”
Seventh Generation, which is based in Burlington, Vt., sells a two-ply toilet paper made of recycled paper among its many household products. It decided to spend a chunk of its ad budget on the State of the Union broadcast rather than on two other events that attract large audiences at this time of the year, the Super Bowl and the Oscars ceremony.
The president’s speech offered a “more appropriate moment” to talk about “serious issues,” said Joey Bergstein, the company’s chief executive. Seventh Generation did not buy time for the ad on the fourth major broadcast network, Fox, or the cable news channels.
“At some point, it became a question of money and what we can actually afford,” Mr. Bergstein said. He added that the company was targeting people “who we know are concerned about climate and really try to inspire that group to action.”
The commercial was created by Opinionated, an ad agency in Portland, Ore., that has worked with Adidas, Google and PayPal. The overall campaign, which will cost less than $3 million, will include print ads in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Owned by Unilever, Seventh Generation gets its name from an Iroquois philosophy that every decision should be considered for its potential effect on the next seven generations.
The environment is increasingly a theme in advertising. Several automakers, including Audi, Porsche and General Motors, shifted from promoting gas-powered vehicles to touting electric cars in Super Bowl commercials on Sunday.
Recently, the nonprofit activist group Avaaz said ads from companies like Samsung and L’Oreal were running alongside YouTube videos that contained misinformation about climate change. L’Oreal said it had asked YouTube to limit the impact of such videos and to better educate viewers about concerns with its content. Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Trump has had a complicated relationship with the environment and efforts to protect it. He pulled the United States from the Paris agreement on climate change and has traded barbs with Greta Thunberg, the teenage Swedish climate activist.
He has also delighted supporters at rallies with his criticism of low-flow toilets and other appliances designed for water efficiency, saying that Americans now have to flush “10 times.” And at a White House meeting with small-business owners in December, the president said, “You turn on the faucet, you don’t get any water.”