Artifishal: Patagonia Environmental Case Study
How we helped Patagonia protect wild fish and raise awareness of the dangers of hatcheries and open-net salmon farms
‘The road to extinction is paved with good intentions’
Environmental marketing campaigns have fast become some of our favourite projects to work on; from the initial stages of planning the best way to create awareness and engagement to seeing the fruits of our efforts culminate in everything from petitions and protests right through government consultations and policy changes.
So we were understandably thrilled when, off the back of a successful campaign to Save the Blue Heart of Europe, Patagonia once again approached us to utilise our digital marketing expertise to support their annual environmental focus.
This time the emphasis was on wild salmon and how well-intentioned but misguided human intervention, through the increased use of hatcheries and fish farms, is driving them to extinction.
Changing audience perceptions
This project was in many ways reminiscent of our work on the previous year’s Blue Heart campaign as it involved changing the audience’s long-held perceptions of what they considered to be a beneficial practice. Last time it was hydropower dams, this time fish farms and hatcheries, which are intended to, and perceived by many to do so successfully, increase the numbers of wild salmon, not threaten them.
Patagonia knew that a primary focus of the success of this campaign would rely on the ability to change the public’s perception of the issue, with the tag line of Artifishal alluding to this conflict of interests from the off:
‘What if we’re the bad guy?’
The aim of the campaign was to reach and educate as many people as possible about the fight to save wild salmon; with the ultimate goal of garnering as many petition signatures as possible which would be delivered to the governments and members of parliament of Iceland, Norway, Scotland and Ireland to encourage them to introduce legislation to prevent damaging practices. It was our job to help Patagonia drive petition signatures by reaching the biggest possible relevant audience through digital advertising.
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A three-stage campaign
The main asset we had to work with was the Artifishal film, a feature-length documentary co-produced by Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard. For the first phase of adverts the film was broken up into segments, short 15 and 30-second clips, which were slowly drip-fed to audiences across Europe. These were delivered across Facebook and Instagram using Stories, Canvas ads and In-Feed ads, both as dark posts and boosted organic posts which achieved additional community growth. The film’s trailer was also used to reach YouTube audiences and was shown as a Pre-Roll advert.
Examples of adverts we ran on social media across each stage of the Artifishal campaign
The second phase of the campaign was a European-wide film tour at cinemas, theatres, cafes and retail locations across the continent. Our job was to fill out these screenings by building on the initial phase of advertising and showing event ads to users who would be interested in attending a screening of the film to learn more about the issue and participate in debates at the end of the screenings with authorities on the subject.
The final phase of the digital campaign focused firstly around a petition signature push. We created custom audiences made up of those who had engaged with the campaign at each level so far and showed them gallery ads that encouraged them to sign the petition. During the final phase of the campaign, we also ran petition handover ads in order to keep audiences abreast of updates. We finished the campaign by advertising and promoting the online release of the full-length Artifishal film.
Political verification roadblocks
One barrier we encountered whilst building and delivering this campaign caused us to have to rethink our entire strategy to get around a new Facebook advertising restriction. Due to increasing examples of advertisers using Facebook and Instagram to spread so-called ‘fake news’ and swing political campaigns, the platform has introduced new rules which mean advertisers can only run political ads in the country they currently reside in, and these ads need to go through an additional lengthy review process which can prevent campaigns from running when planned. Despite the campaign creative not comprising of what would normally be considered ‘political’, the adverts were often held-up and not approved, as this is an umbrella term which also covers social and environmental issues.
The campaign quickly developed from a pan-European campaign managed from one central Facebook ad account to a campaign delivered from multiple regional ad accounts, one for each country we wanted our ads to broadcast in. This also meant liaising and training a number of Patagonia employees so they would be able to push ads live from their respective countries. This workaround enabled us to deliver the campaign almost as planned.
The Patagonia Europe enviro team hand over the 170,000 petition signatures
By the end of the campaign the petition to Stop Europe’s Dirty Fish Farms had 170,000 signatures, all of which were handed over to the Governments of Iceland, Norway, Scotland and Ireland in 2019.
Our campaign put the Artifishal campaign in front 8,115,750 people on Facebook and Instagram plus an additional 526,929 impressions from Google Display and YouTube. This generated 110,781 clicks to the Artifishal platform and petition page.
The film tour phase of the campaign saw sell-out screenings across the continent with our ads contributing 14,032 event responses at an average cost of €0.72 per response from Facebook promotion alone.
We arranged our own screening of Artifishal and held it at Cafe No9 in Sheffield
This was a fast-paced and at times extremely challenging campaign to work on but one of our most rewarding projects to date. In fact, we felt so compelled to act after watching Artifishal as a team that we even hosted our own sell-out screening at a local cafe in Sheffield.
Do you want to achieve these kinds of results in your next campaign using advanced audience targeting and carefully curated social media advertising funnels? Get in touch to discuss your next project.