Client: WWF Germany
Product: A new species
Title: Eurythenes plasticus
Media: Print, PR, Social Media, OOH, Cinema, Guerilla/Ambient, Microsite, School Material
Date Of Campaign: 05.03.2020
Background: Germans are some of the best sorters of rubbish in the world, but well under 30% of our plastic is recycled. Rather than dealing with our own trash, Germany is the third biggest exporter of plastic waste (behind the USA and Japan) to countries in South East Asia. Because of less stringent regulations in these countries, this trash often ends up at landfill where it’s blown around in the wind, into rivers and ultimately into our oceans. Once in the ocean, the plastic gradually breaks down into microplastics and slowly falls to the sea floor where it can take up to 400 years to fully decompose. Ocean plastic is an important ongoing topic for the WWF. We were given the challenge to find a new spin on a problem that has been desensitized over time that could generate widespread attention and action with a very modest budget.
Idea: When you find a new species you get to give it a name. To make an environmental statement against ocean plastic, we named a new deep-sea species after the plastic that was found inside its body - Eurythenes plasticus. ?This new species has been entered into the permanent taxonomic record as living proof that we’re impacting parts of the world we are still discovering. Following the publication of the scientific manuscript and the worldwide press that resulted, we launched a multi-channel campaign collecting petition signatures calling for a legally binding UN agreement to put an end to marine plastic pollution.
Results: Launched during the rise of COVID-19, Eurythenes plasticus still made a lasting and global impact. - Eurythenes plasticus and the environmental topic was first discussed across all major German media outlets (Der Spiegel, Berliner Zeitung, Deutsche Welle, Bild, Welt, Stern etc) & then went global (BBC, Newsweek, Forbes, The New Yorker, The Evening Standard, CNN, The Indian Times, Nine News Australia, News.com.au, Gizmodo, The New Zealand Herald, Unilad, New Scientist,? The China Post and many more). - The media frenzy is estimated to have generated €12 million in earned media value and thanks to the social conversation, over 93 counties discussed plasticus online. - The organic social conversation was even picked up by celebrities such as Anitta in Brazil who shared it with her 50 million followers. - The petition to date has over 2 million signatures (120k in campaign period) & will be presented to the UN shortly. - The permanent museum exhibitions have had over 410,000 combined visitors to date and new partnerships requests continue to be supported. - Due to great interest from schools to integrate the subject into the curriculum, we developed together with the scientists the website plasticus.school as an international educational resource that has thousands of downloads to date. - Eurythenes plasticus received a Guinness World Record as the first new species contaminated by plastic.