• CAMSoc

Environmental Marketing Campaigns

Today we’ve collaborated with Compass (the Geography Department’s student magazine) to collaborate on illuminating the role of geography in marketing. Over on Compass we discussed how the very concept of a ‘market’ is inherently geographical, the geographical organization of media and communication channels and the importance of localising marketing messages. In this post, we’re going to be breaking down some of the Compass Committees favourite environmental and sustainability related campaigns.

1. ‘Shark’ WWF (2010)

Advert caption: Exploiting the ecosystem also threatens human lives. For a living planet.wwf.org

This WWF advert was published in 2010, and is simple yet effective. It was part of a series that showed various animals (a shark, snake and a vulture) next to the same image but where the animal had disappeared, and was created by the advertising agency DDB & Co. Turkey. It clearly communicates the impacts of continued anthropogenic environmental destruction. To put this into perspective Ceballos et al. (2015) argue that the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century is equivalent to 800 to 10,000 years of normal ‘background’ rates of extinction (2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years), therefore signifying the sixth mass extinction has begun. Compass blog editor Daria summarised the effective communication of this harsh reality stating “I remember seeing it and it sticking with me for how simple it was. I thought it was a clever reminder that while we think of predators in nature as terrifying, humans are even more dangerous”.

2. There’s a monster in my kitchen, Greenpeace (2020)

“Sign the petition and tell corporate monsters to stop destroying our forests”

This advert from Greenpeace is a follow-up short film to a previous advert, Rang-Tang. This was made with animation studio Cartoon Saloon and independent creative agency Mother, and aims to raise awareness of the role industrial meat farming plays in the processes of deforestation and climate change. Compass blog editor Hannah describes this advert as “the one that sticks with me”.

3. Rang-tan, Greenpeace (2018)

The advert which is the prequel to the Monster advert mentioned above, was published by Greenpeace in 2018. It is a video advert voiced by Emma Thompson and aims to raise awareness about the environmental damage associated with palm oil plantations. The video was chosen as Supermarket chain Iceland’s Christmas advert but was subsequently banned by from TV after Clearcase (the organisation that approves UK TV adverts) claimed it had ‘political aims’.

Compass blog editor Sophie explained “for me, it’s such a powerful advert and raises awareness of such an important issue. The fact that it was banned from TV broadcasts only made it more popular, and therefore powerful, on social media. I also think the fact the advert was released as a Christmas advert, when many other companies focus on consumerist habits and have little concern for the planet, makes it such a good example of ethical and sustainable marketing”. The popularity highlighted here is certainly true - The video managed to achieve over 30 million views online (Greenpeace, 2019).

So what is the environmental reality behind this campaign? Well it’s pretty similar to the advert. Between 1989 and 2000 the area covered by oil palms in Indonesia more than tripled, currently totaling over 6 million hectares - This jumps to 15 million hectares on a global scale (Sumatran Orangutan Society, 2021). This comes at the sacrifice of lowland rainforest environments which is home to, as the advert demonstrates, Orangutan’s.

4. Ice-cream, WFF (2005)

Advert caption: Nothing and no-one will be spared from climate change.

Another WWF advert has made it onto the list! This advert was published in 2005, yet remains incredibly relevant today. This advert shows the importance of create visuals - It is simple yet stands out and clearly translates the impact of humans on the envrionment... Global warming. The world here is quite literally melting. Compass Committee member Oliva stated that for here this really "promotes action to mitigate global warming".

Again, we bring you the facts behind this advert, and they really are quite shocking. According to NASA (2021), the years 2016 and 2020 are tied for the warmest year on record. This is the result of continued atmospheric warming since the 19th century, with the average surface temperature having risen 2.12 degrees throughout this period.

What this article aims to highlight is not only the power of memorable marketing, but that marketing is a powerful tool for change - And in this case environmental change! We at CAMSoc would like to thank Compass for collaborating with us and opening our eyes a little further to the power of environmental advertising and marketing.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author only, and does not represent the views of CAMSoc as a whole or the University of Cambridge.



Ceballos, G. et al. (2015) Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction. Science Advances, 1(5) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400253

Greenpeace (2019) Rang-tan: watch the film https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/news/watch-rang-tan-film/?source=GA&subsource=GOFRNAOAGA034J&gclid=Cj0KCQiAx9mABhD0ARIsAEfpavTGOXz3OxOxog2rMWtk9oEpKRttPKF0n1LMjHqA6rNr-iH48oFk-XIaAuSNEALw_wcB

NASA (2021) Climate Change: How Do We Know? https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Sumatran Orangutan Society (2021) Palm oil and orangutans. www.orangutans-sos.org/take-action/learn/palm-oil/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAx9mABhD0ARIsAEfpavSg6_Hb2ZdmJ3ODThUScLuwW5h_JqsNs4pLlFSMi6MwGYvXHaPmGtsaAmN4EALw_wcB