SURfers against sewage

Wasteland: Join The Resistance

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THE PROBLEM

How do you wake up an indifferent public and government to the issue of single-use plastics? Especially when the U.K. suffers from a throwaway consumer culture?

THE STRATEGY

Join the Resistance – leveraging Surfers Against Sewage’s (SAS) grass roots credentials, send out a nationwide call to action to recruit the public to fight against the use of single-use plastic.

THE IDEA

“Wasteland” – we conceptualised the world’s newest and most dangerous superpower. Situated in the North Pacific, “Wasteland” is a land-mass five times the size of North Korea made entirely from the plastics we throw away every day.

Positioning “Wasteland” as a common enemy with SAS as the commander-in-chief and facilitator of behaviour change, we brought the threat to life through blended PR, Experiential, ATL and Digital across the M&C Saatchi group.

We launched by landing a 30ft warship on British shores, made from plastics collected on SAS beach cleans. This provided national press with a striking picture story; The Guardian with an exclusive. The warship was an asset throughout, even appearing at parliament’s door during lobbying efforts.

We also created & deployed:

  • A heavyweight report to educate the public, appeal to media & influence change
  • A film with actress Imelda Staunton; depicting ‘Wasteland’ as a national security threat
  • An engaging, content-led microsite to deliver the cut-through needed to reach industry, government and public
  • ‘Plastic Free Action Plan’ packs on the microsite, so individuals, community groups and local councils could take action

To date, the campaign has driven incredible behaviour change results.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove singled out SAS’s campaign, saying these movements are ‘vital’ in reversing harm to our planet. Gove congratulated Penzance and Perranporth for their leading role in achieving SAS Plastic Free Coastlines status and pledging to cut down on single-use plastics.

Parliamentary support has continued to spread; 107 MPS are in direct contact with SAS and the Commons Commission recently confirmed they’ll be investigating how they can reduce their single-use plastic consumption.

Moreover, six months after campaign launch, Prime Minster Theresa May launched the government’s 25-year environmental plan, which had the “war on plastic” at its core. Most recently, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle independently promoted SAS by asking the public to donate to the charity instead of sending them wedding gifts (read more here).

BUSINESS IMPACT

100%

Increase in the average of online direct debit donations since launch

6,171

Online Surfers Against Sewage sign-ups

25

Substantial new donors secured for SAS

15,000+

Action Plans downloaded from microsite: https://www.sas.org.uk/wasteland/

CULTURAL IMPACT

7

Approved UK Plastic Free Communities, with 208 working towards this status

97.2

Tonnes of plastic pollution removed from beaches

8

Quoted in official Parliamentary business 8 times in 2017

2

major campaigns led by local groups to unite respective counties and areas – Plastic Free Cornwall and Plastic Free Devon

SOCIAL & MEDIA IMPACT

45

Pieces of national editorial coverage at launch, with video content featured in The Guardian, BBC, Independent, MSN and Huffington Post

303M

Reached through the campaign
300,000+
Times the ‘Wasteland’ film has been viewed

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