Sheba and AMV BBDO continue to deliver on sustainability while reaching new customers
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Sheba and AMV BBDO continue to deliver on sustainability while reaching new customersJanuary 2023
Take a deep dive with Sheba and AMV BBDO into the case study of Hope Reef, a creative ad campaign years in the making. Watch as the brand evolves, with agency support, from marketer into a YouTube brand content creator to reach new customers, while continuing to deliver on its sustainability goals and to do good for coral reefs.
Find more creative inspiration with marketing insights by visiting Meet the Makers on the Think with Google YouTube channel.
Laura Balfour: Set yourself against a BHAG, a big hairy audacious goal, and the world wants you to win those ones.
Denise Truelove: It starts with fish, and our commitment to 100% sustainably sourced fish. Of course, a cat food brand should be doing this, because we have fish in our product.
Emily Brydon: Twenty-five percent of all marine life rely on coral reefs.
Denise: You have to have healthy oceans, and in order to have healthy oceans, you have to have coral reefs.
Laura: We briefed the creatives in the Shark Tank of London Aquarium, and then they came back with this incredible idea.
Emily: Hope Reef is a living billboard. It’s the world’s first living billboard made from real, thriving coral. When viewed from the air or from Google satellites, it spells the word “hope.”
We were armed with this Reef Star technology. What we wanted to do was to plant something that really brought that positive story to life, and so “hope” really felt like the natural articulation of that.
Mario Kerkstra: I think that project really, really pushed what typography is and what it can do. Growing typeface at that scale under water, we then created a campaign identity that amplified it — a digital version of it — that typographically and creatively and visually is so unusual.
Denise: We do live in an environment and in a world society where greenwashing and things like that are happening.
Laura: You will be accused of greenwashing if you start talking about the environment. And so you have to spend years doing the groundwork with scientists, looking into the depths of your supply chain, to be able to come out with a statement like this. And Mars did that.
Emily: This commitment is a 10-year commitment, and it is the largest coral reef restoration in the world.
Denise: Even if this campaign goes away tomorrow, we’re still planting 185,000 square meters of coral reef around the world.
Laura: There are some briefs that you get and, you’re like, we think this could be the brief of a lifetime. We had this beautiful, incredible symbol growing in the ocean, and we had a picture of that up behind us, so no matter how hard it got, we knew that we had to justify and live up to that image.
Mario: People sometimes say it’s like a once in a career type project. I actually think that this was that. Just for the sheer amount of time that was spent on it, what it did in the world. I came back with an idea, basically a digital growing typeface, made out of coral obviously, that would then become like a campaign identity or visual identity for the whole campaign.
Laura: It was not only absolutely adopted by the public; it made news around the world; it had a 308% return on investment globally; and it’s just picked up two Grand Prix at Cannes, which is beyond any of our wildest dreams.
Mario: Places like National Geographic were writing about it. They really helped the environment. This is a genuine long-term commitment by Sheba.
Emily: We planted the reef a number of years before the campaign went live. It was working with the local community.
Laura: Working with the Mars scientists and 500 assets around that to make sure that it was unmissable and that anyone anywhere could help us restore coral reefs.
Emily: Having everyone on the same page and working together was sort of paramount to the success of it.
Denise: Someone had the idea of, well, what if we actually monetized a YouTube channel for good?
Emily: So Sheba turned from advertiser into a content creator.
Denise: And all of the content that was watched and shared from that particular channel all went towards the effort of coral restoration.
Emily: To become a content creator, you need to have a thousand subscribers, and you need to have 4,000 hours of organic views on your site.
Laura: Thankfully, at the same time, we had shot a documentary, an incredible documentary called “The Cats That Rule the World,” and so we chose that moment to say, look, we’ve created this amazing content. Everybody can have it for free. It’s on our YouTube channel, and that got thousands upon thousands of organic views.
Emily: Quite quickly, we were able to qualify as a content creator.
Denise: And then, I think, what became equally important is the content that we knew that we had to create, as we were thinking about the coral restoration efforts: so the behind the scenes videos, meeting the community, and so just loading the channel with content so that the audience would stay engaged and watch and share even more.
Laura: We know for a fact that Sheba’s YouTube channel definitely did work for us, because we raised enough money to plant another reef through the views that we got on that YouTube channel during the campaign.
Set yourself against the impossible, and, if you win, people remember. So why set yourself a small challenge, when you can do something incredible like this?
Denise: It was probably the best thing that I’ve ever done as a marketer or as a human on this planet. I don’t know why I’m getting emotional.
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