Last Stop: The Ocean

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is an intergovernmental organization funded by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The CEC brings the three countries together in a shared effort to protect the environment across North America.

Signifly partnered with the CEC to create Last Stop: The Ocean - a digital-first campaign focused on one of the most widespread and debated environmental issues: marine litter.

With a topic as serious as marine litter, it’s easy to think that the only way to capture the severity of the problem is to show the devastating effect of plastic pollution. We chose to challenge this idea.

Our campaign is built on the strategic insight that many individuals feel overwhelmed and powerless by the complexity of the marine litter problem. So, we made it easy for more North Americans to join the battle.

By wielding the arts of storytelling and animation, we created the world’s cutest marine litter campaign. The goal: to engage a broad public audience by empowering them with the simplest solutions possible.

See the finished campaign at Last Stop: The Ocean

Strategic lead:
Kathrine Elvira Boysen
Creative lead:
Alexandre Lee
March 2020 – January 2021
Key focus:
Creative campaign

The power of illustrations

By creating a playful, illustrated universe, we made a complex issue simple and allowed people from different demographics and cultural backgrounds to engage.

Use a trash can, save the ocean

Using social marketing techniques, we focused on maximizing the benefits of behavioral change, making it easy for new audiences to take action.

Interactive web experiences

At the center of the campaign, we developed an educational web universe where users can scroll through an interactive animation and experience how their litter can travel to the ocean.

Community engagement

To drive traffic to the website, we built a toolkit of digital marketing materials, outdoor advertising, and usage guidelines that will help CEC’s many local partners run community campaigns.

The challenge

How do you offer easy solutions to a problem that is far from simple?

Our main challenge for this mandate was to break down the complex topic into simple solutions while finding the right balance between scientific and creative messaging. To do so, we worked closely with a board of environmental experts from the CEC’s Steering Committee.

Through a dozen workshops, expert interviews, and focus groups with local partners we identified core problems and solutions that were relevant to address in all three target countries.

Trash travels

We chose to focus the campaign on a behavior change, that most North Americans can apply without major effort: using a trashcan.

Surprisingly, land-based litter is a major source of marine debris. Since plastics do not dissolve in the environment they can easily travel with wind and water through the vast river systems in North America. Last stop? The ocean.

We presented the message in a creative universe of litter items that are worried and surprised by the fact that they can travel to the ocean. Through animated storytelling, the campaign showed how small efforts can make big waves when everyone does their part!