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WWF says reversing declining fish stocks is easy

Lazy environmentalists celebrated in latest campaign for MSC-approved seafood

People want to help the environment, but only if it doesn’t require much effort. That’s the ideology behind “The Lazy Environmentalist,” a new campaign from WWF and creative agency John St.

Designed to raise awareness of declining fish stocks, and encourage consumers to purchase seafood carrying the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) logo, the campaign aims to demonstrate just how easy it is make sustainable choices.

According to Hannah Smit, associate creative director at John. St., the idea came about after agency staff and the WWF identified a trend – people are eager to help the environment, as long as it’s relatively effortless. So rather than try to change that behavior, they embraced it.

“In this case we wanted to celebrate lazy environmentalism because it’s something that hasn’t been celebrated before, and is sort of seen as something that doesn’t actually create real change, but in the case of MSC, it can,” said Smit.

“We know that one of the biggest barriers to creating positive environmental change is that people think it’s hard. For once we were given a brief where it said it’s actually really, really easy. That was pretty exciting for us to share that message and we’re hoping that it resonates with people and takes off.”

The campaign launched Wednesday with a 60-second YouTube video demonstrating how simple it is to choose sustainably sourced seafood. The video, which portrays an extremely lazy man going through daily life, points out that people recycle because the bin happens to be near the trash, and buy organic foods, but only when they can get a deal.

The campaign also includes two how-to videos, “Feed Your Cat” and “Making a Sandwich” along with a series of overtly simple online quizzes. The quizzes have been made into a small batch of posters, which are set to begin appearing around downtown Toronto next week. Discounted media space was provided by guerilla marketing agency Grassroots.

The campaign is being promoted via WWF’s and John St.’s social channels, and will run indefinitely.

The MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) is an international not-for-profit that aims to protect the world’s oceans by recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing practices. Last year, it asked WWF and John St. to remove an ad from its media placements over concerns it portrayed commercial fishing in an unfavourable light.

This article first appeared in Marketing Magazine

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