Strategy and Creative Platform, Proposition and Messaging
Approach and Concept Development
Film Production, Scripting, Direction, Social Assets
Whales are fighting climate change in a big way. They are contributing to as much carbon capture as all the rainforests on land. They are like giant, swimming Amazons, supporting our marine ecosystem. We need them – and they need us.
This is the idea behind our provocative campaign for WDC, which launched during COP26 in November. The aim is to reposition whales as important partners in tackling the most pressing issue of our time – and renew their role as symbols of hope and inspiration in conservation.
raised in the first 6 months
The project started with the incredible findings that whales are a mighty ally in the fight against climate change. As part of our annual pro bono initiative, we joined a collective of organisations working with WDC to develop these findings into a fundraising product, proposition and hero campaign, and ultimately transform the fight to protect them.
To bring this research to life, and stand out at COP26, we realised we needed to shift the global conversation around whales. It was fundamental to change the narrative that we should simply feel sorry for declining whale populations, to instead perceive whales as a crucial and life-saving ally in the fight against climate change.
First and foremost, we needed to understand the potential audience opportunities for this campaign. So, through research, we discovered a huge segment of the population that would support WDC not because they cared about whales, but because they cared about our planet.
We then defined these groups and researched their key motivators. We found an increase in climate anxiety, feeling starved of a solution, and fatigued by contradictory messages around things like rainforests and carbon offsetting.
As a result, we developed a series of key messages that focused on fighting climate change with a tangible and alternative solution to planting trees. This led us to our simple campaign proposition: ‘Climate Giants. Save the whale, save the world’.
Next, we challenged our creative team to bring this message to life. As we had chosen COP26 as our backdrop for the campaign, we wanted to stand out with a completely new message of hope – so were keen to avoid traditional themes of green and plastic. Instead, we landed on a direct, urgent and powerful film, appealing directly to the viewer with a stark warning about our future.
The concept represents the enormity of the challenge through its visuals – a tiny boat at the whim of the ocean’s power. It reinforces how big the problem is, and how, in the face of such adversity, it can feel hard to navigate or make meaningful change.
Enlisting the help of Game of Thrones star and WDC patron, Jerome Flynn, the film begins with a close up of our lead character, alone in a precarious position surrounded by a never-ending sea.
With a quiet but urgent tone, he describes the precarious situation of our planet. He speaks directly to the viewer, reminding us that we are all, indeed, in the same boat. The ocean behind him is still, but the mood of the film and the urgency of his words imply that a storm is brewing.
Wise and reassuring, he brings home the central solution as the viewer is submerged under the surface to catch a glimpse of the whale: our mightiest ally in the fight against climate change.
We chose COP26 as the backdrop for the campaign in order to establish whales as an important part of the climate conversation. Ultimately, the goal was to influence policy and gain new supporters for WDC, so the film featured in talks during events with world leaders and activists.
Meanwhile, whales took over social media with a wave of bespoke content designed to build an immediate connection between whales and the climate.
Within six months, the campaign:
The campaign has also helped WDC to build an international network of leading scientists, researchers, economists and businesses keen to develop the concept and turn it into practical solutions that protect whales and dolphins.
We’d like to say a massive thanks to everyone who we worked with so closely to bring this campaign to life. From daily collaboration with the team at WDC, to the research that made the campaign possible in the first place, this project could not have happened without the hard work of a lot of passionate people.
Livework Studio and Deloitte’s groundbreaking research into whales’ carbon-offsetting credentials, Rewild’s brilliant audience and proposition development, and the endless stream of ideas, enthusiasm, expertise and insights from WDC were more than we could have hoped for when we started out.