WWF-Australia strives to raise biodiversity conscience with Sydney experiential activation

Latest campaign focused on raising awareness of biodiversity and deforestation saw Sydney siders experiencing a life without the iconic koala

A new experiential activation by WWF-Australia in Sydney showing what the state would look like sans koalas is just one a strategic plan to get more weight behind deforestation, its CMO says.

WWF-Australia, a not-for profit focused on environment and species protection, joined forces with Starcom and Habitat Media last week to run a physical activation giving Sydneysiders the opportunity to experience what a future looks like without koalas in the wild.

The #savekoalas campaign featured a pop-up koala museum at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger terminal, set in 2050, and displaying taxidermy koalas and skeletal remains. Participants also got the opportunity to engage with content to learn about what Australia was like when koalas were thriving, and how we could have prevented their demise.

The activation ran for a full day on 17 November and also featured a petition encouraging visitors to help demand action to stop excessive tree-clearing, one of the biggest contributing factors to the koala’s demise. It’s estimated fewer than 20,000 koalas are left in NSW and are on track to be extinct in the state by 2050.

WWF-Australia CMO, Yves Calmette, told CMO the Sydney campaign was part of a global objective to raise awareness and support for key environmental issues. A key one is the loss of biodiversity, something outlined in the organisation’s biennial research effort, Living Planet Report, released in October.

According to those findings, about 60 per cent of the world’s biodiversity has been lost in the last 50 years. In addition, WWF-Australia has partnered with the UN, and is working in build support for addressing these issues in advance of 2020, a “super” year when a number of key international environment policies, such as the Paris Agreement, are up for renewal, along with the major conference on biodiversity also run by the UN, Calmette said.

“In Australia, our strategic plan is that we want to be the voice for nature and engage millions of Australians to be aware of the losses, to be more connected with nature and what needs to be done,” he said. “The UN partnered with WWF and asked us to focus on the communications target of making sure people on earth are aware of the loss of biodiversity and what needs to be done so they can change their daily lives to stop that.”

Deforestation was a key focal point because Australia is the only developed country to be in the hottest spots for deforestation activity, Calmette continued. The problem is many citizens are not aware of it. What’s more, environmental issues locally have become highly politicised, making it more difficult to get bi-partisan support for solutions to such issues.

“Without taking sides, we’ve done a lot of research into what’s important for Australia. What that shows is that as soon as people are aware deforestation is a massive problem, they all want to stop that extinction of species,” Calmette explained. “When people know it has such an impact on iconic species like the koala, they want to do more.”

WWF’s experiential activation was supported by digital and targeted out-of-home spend, but the primary intention was gaining earned media impact. In this vein, it’s exceed expectations, with SBS, Channel 9, Channel 7, radio and overseas media covering the campaign.

The campaign was also deliberately timed to occurred several months before the NSW state elections in the hopes raising awareness would put the environment back into the spotlight, Calmette said.

The museum was situated in a dimly lit container utilising upcycled or biodegradable materials.  At the end of the visit, visitors were asked to create a short video message, encouraging others to sign the online petition. The video was sent to their mobiles directly in order to share on social platforms. Calmette said this user-generated content will be shared via WWF-Australia’s channels as well, delivering additional amplification opportunities.

The Sydney campaign took its cues from a campaign run by WWF-Australia last year in Queensland, again timed to occur several months before that state’s election. Calmette said deforestations subsequently became an election issue, with the law on deforestation changed as a result.

“We launched [#savekoalas] in September, mainly via social and digital channels, and built momentum. This activation was the final step combined with media,” Calmette said.

“During the GFC, the environment became less important for many people. Now it’s back on the agenda, over next year and 2020 are going to be our years where we can really have an impact. It comes back to our ability to get the right mix and be smart about our marketing.”

Starcom account director, Andrew Lyons, said the work with WWF is all about driving impact. “The impact we hope to bring this time is the reduction in deforestation to give one of our favourite Australian icons a fighting chance,” he said.

Habitat Media managing partner, Mark Vincent, compared losing the koala to losing the Sydney Opera House. The koala museum was aimed at spreading the message far and wide through an iconic part of Australia’s culture, he said.

“By incorporating a social platform that records a message and instantly makes this shareable, we have ensured that we maximise awareness,” he added.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: ABC's Leisa Bacon

In this episode of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO, ABC's director of audiences, Leisa Bacon, shares how she's navigated the COVID-19 crisis, the milestones and adaptability it's ushered in, and what sustained lessons there are for marketers as we start to recover.

More Videos

Zero proof spiritsUsa since 2011 www.arkaybeverages.com🤪🤟

Sylvie

How this alcohol-free spirits brand rode the health and wellness wave

Read more

okay this a good newsmaybe i gonna try it

kenzopoker1

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 9 July 2020

Read more

Very insightful. Executive leaders can let middle managers decide on the best course of action for the business and once these plans are ...

Abi TCA

CMOs: Let middle managers lead radical innovation

Read more

One failing brand tying up with another failing brand!

Realist

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

I am 56 years old and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after four years of decreasing mobility to the point of having family dress ...

Nancy Tunick

The personal digital approach that's helping Vision RT ride out the crisis

Read more

Blog Posts

MYOD Dataset: Building a DAM

In my first article in this MYOD [Make Your Organisation Data-Driven] series, I articulated a one-line approach to successfully injecting data into your organisation’s DNA: Using a Dataset -> Skillset -> Mindset framework. This will take your people and processes on a journey to data actualisation.

Kshira Saagar

Group director of data science, Global Fashion Group

Business quiet? Now is the time to review your owned assets

For businesses and advertiser categories currently experiencing a slowdown in consumer activity, now is the optimal time to get started on projects that have been of high importance, but low urgency.

Olia Krivtchoun

CX discipline leader, Spark Foundry

Bottoms up: Lockdown lessons for an inverted marketing world

The effects of the coronavirus slammed the brakes on retail sales in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Fever-Tree’s Australia GM Andy Gaunt explains what they have learnt from some tricky months of trading

Andy Gaunt

General manager, Fever-Tree Australia and New Zealand

Sign in