Marketing is the key to campaign success. And yes, there are examples of good and bad marketing but the bad can often be related to poor planning or lack of evidence to support a particular route. Sometimes even the big brands get it wrong, just look at Mastercard’s recent blunder for the World Cup.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of supporting acts that help your activity along the way. But the most important parts of the puzzle are; research, planning and strategy to deliver on your objective. These are the integral drivers for success. If your campaign is built on solid foundations then your output and execution becomes more focused.

At it’s best, marketing is the perfect tool for building awareness. Awareness of your brand, a product, competition or a worthy cause in need of mass support. Enter the world plastic crisis.

For so long this global issue is in the “out of sight, out of mind” category until recently when an unlikely source stepped up and produced a well thought-out and executed campaign to raise the awareness to the public in a brilliant way.

Last year, LadBible teamed up with Plastic Oceans to raise awareness amongst the younger generation about the sheer amount of plastic pollution in the ocean. There is so much that has gathered in one location in the Pacific Ocean (off the coast of Hawaii) that it has amassed to the size of France…yes, France. The leading message was clear; there would be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050 if something isn’t done now. Scary.

With the power of the internet, some intelligent & creative thinking as well as the backing from a sharp legal team, LadBible launched a petition for the UN to recognise the plastic pollution as a country or more specifically, Trash Isles. If accepted, Trash Isles will be protected by UN laws and actions will be taken to clear the rubbish supported by all countries under the UN.

More specifically, as a country “All members shall co-operate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem”. Pretty clever hey!
So, they employed Ross Kemp to head up the campaign video which went viral, outlining the issue at hand and explaining how to get involved. Have a look a the campaign video below.

The campaign reached half a billion people, and search volumes on Google for the term ‘plastic pollution’ went up +154% in the nine months after launch versus the nine months before.

LadBible and Plastic Oceans submitted Trash Isles country application to the UN on World Oceans Day in 2017. An apt and well timed tactic.

Now this is a blog hailing the marketing of the campaign, not a plea to rid the ocean of plastic – but I suppose I’m doing my part to raise awareness as well. The campaign teamed up with celebrities and created ambassadors to give the campaign recognisable faces for the public to relate to, but also a sense of confidence that this wasn’t a LadBible spoof. Al Gore, Dame Judy Dench, Sir David Attenborough, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Pharrell Williams, the list goes on, were all involved and become “citizens”.

Research shows that younger audiences tend to be more political online, so that’s where the majority of the awareness activity took place through social media, video and the website. The creativity extended to designing the Trash Isles flag, currency and citizen passports all of which helped to win the Cannes Grand Prix award in the category.

Now of course, this campaign isn’t really about awards, its about awareness but then the awards it has won only furthers the awareness and message, reaching new people and influencing the issue. A perfect storm of positive PR.

The campaign reached half a billion people, and search volumes on Google for the term ‘plastic pollution’ went up +154% in the nine months after launch versus the nine months before.

Now if you’re like me then you love David Attenborough’s Blue Planet and it was his ending piece on his show that was the beginning of my own awareness with the plastic pollution in our oceans. But it also provided brands all across the world with a platform to take the message and develop it.

You may have seen our recent “campaign of the week” looking into the Mexican lager manufacturer, Corona. They transformed images of paradise on roadside billboards in Hawaii (coincidentally this is the nearest point to where the Trash Isles is as well) and sculpted elements of the photography with plastic. A powerful and creative message.

A Hawaiian style shirt was also designed which was made from Parley Ocean Plastic™ collected from the open ocean and weaved marine plastic into the thread of the shirt. A great example of integrating your marketing to create an impactful message and drive awareness of the subject.

Driving awareness for great causes such as charities or the plastic pollution crisis is where marketing, creativity and strategy really shines. These examples just show how a well planned and executed campaign can really deliver, staying focused on the objective.

That attention to detail is really important to campaign success. We like to interrogate all our briefs, not because we want to create more work or to drive project costs but to really identify what the objective we need to achieve is. Sometimes the initial requirements aren’t entirely focused on the real problem businesses want to solve. Through careful planning, research and strategy we can determine the right route in order to get results.

And that’s what we want to deliver, results. We want happy clients so we aim to delight their audience. It underpins our thoughts when we’re working on a project and that’s why we work hard to create memorable campaigns that make a difference for our clients.

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Marketing, Plastic & the Trash Isles

Written By Adam Burrage
Managing Partner at Trident