World Wildlife Fund Super Smart Eco Ad Campaign

by , 12/10/07

WWF, World Wildlife Federation, south america, paper dispenser, rising sea levels, billboard, wwf_paper2.jpg

Check out this brilliant World Wildlife Fund ad campaign in the form of bathroom towel dispensers! Demonstrating that Saatchi and Saatchi is the undisputed king of transforming advertising into an art form, this genius PSA integrates a crucial environmental message into the built environment. Shown above is the latest example of clever marketing concept ingeniously integrated into the most banal space: a public restroom. These paper towel dispensers have a cut out the shape of South America through which a stack of green paper towels illustrates the green rain forest canopy of the continent. As the paper towel dispenser is slowly drained of its green paper towels, we see the greenness slowly drained out of South America, symbolizing the nasty environmental impact of disposable paper towels.

We think this is an shining example of communication design: making a direct, graphic connection for viewers about how simple thoughtless consumption impacts the environment in such a negative way. The message is clear: every piece of paper you take is a piece of South America’s rainforest. How much more visceral and engaging is that over a boring TV PSA or print ad? Makes us never want to use paper towels again!

This genius idea came from the prestigious Saatchi and Saatchi, Copenhagen, Denmark.

WWF, World Wildlife Fund, south america, paper dispenser, rising sea levels, billboard, wwf_shadows2.jpg

The second eco-ad example utilizes the movement of shadows on a billboard to demonstrate how global warming will lead to rising water levels with a shaped canopy and the shifting sun. Below is a YouTube video of this brilliant billboard in action.

Someone at Saatchi needs to be given a promotion and an award for this one. Well done!

+ The World Wildlife Fund

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  1. Dan V February 4, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I think criticising the paper towel dispenser for its lack of a solution to the major problem should be spent on a link in the product design section of the site.

    As this was placed in the graphics section, it would be more appropriate to consider the proficiency with which the paper towel dispenser conveys its message. It’s clever, it scratched my mind without my even having to use a paper towel.

    Since getting rid of all paper towel dispensers in public bathrooms would be an impractical leap that would cause more trouble than its worth, I think this is a successful alternative product. Passively encouraging people to reconsider their daily habits can be more effective than obtrusively attacking their lifestyles.

  2. Toyah, Nuit Design February 2, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Even if I think Saatchi & Saatchi from Copenhagen make beautiful, smart design and solutions, I can not trust this design team. Coca Cola is one of theirs biggest customers. Where are theirs integrity?

  3. Maria January 14, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Just a thought, with regard to the billboard poster, surely when the sun starts to go down so would the water level on the billboard therefore not really portraying the mesage very well.

  4. pinch of salt December 28, 2007 at 9:16 am

    clever advertising like this not only relies on the physical artefact – the modified towel despenser – to deliver the message but also hinges on the image being spread across the internet and being discussed.

    Saatchi have also won awards for this project – causing further conversation around the issue of limited resources.

    so “getting rid of dispensers all together” wouldn’t illicit contemplation over the impact of our choices – these “new preachy paper towel dispensers” have probably been seen by more people over the net without any consumption of paper towels to deliver the message.

  5. musicman December 22, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    very creative ads and gimmicks. however, i’m not sure if the message is truly being sent across to the normal observer. wouldn’t a more direct approach have been better, and thus probably saved the budget wwf had…for better environmental/animal aid endeavors???

  6. Cranky Guy December 14, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    I have a bit of a problem with the idea relying on green paper towels. To produce those towels the paper would first have to be bleached and then died to get that vivid green color. Recycled brown paper towels require a lot less processing and harmful chemicals to make. That said it’s a clever little idea that might get some serial paper towel users to go for just one towel instead of three. Where those who who are already concerned about the environment will just get a sad feeling in their stomaches and walk out of the restroom wiping their hands on their jeans.

  7. CS December 12, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    I agree about the paper towel dispensers being a bit counter-productive, but the billboard is a pretty unique and creative way of using a tired, common-place sign.

  8. JS December 11, 2007 at 11:11 am

    even if the ecological and human health impacts associated with paper production actually harm more humans than it helps?

  9. E.M. December 11, 2007 at 10:09 am

    It is World Wildlife Fund — not federation!

  10. frances December 11, 2007 at 10:03 am

    There are MANY people who don’t want to acknowledge the fact that humans are responsible for global warming. I’ve heard IVY grads w/ high IQ’s say the stupidest illogical things to support their view. A product like this is likely to get under their skin, because 1. it’s visual and 2. they have to interact with it. It might help them reconsider their position.
    These dispensers are still used, everywhere. Unless Americans can emulate the Europeans or Japanese, who do not use throw-away paper products the way we do, this is a compromise that might get people to consider bringing their own towels with them.

  11. Kat December 11, 2007 at 4:10 am

    it’ really creative, but how about instead of mass-producing new preachy paper towel dispensers and throwing away the old ones, replace the old ones with those fabric-on-a-loop towel dispensers that you yank on, like they have on ferry boats in seattle. i sometimes feel a little dubious about their cleanliness, but i use hotel towels without giving it a second thought. just make them look nice and clean, and if you must, put some slogan on them about how doing your part to wash your hands of deforestation, or somesuch.

  12. Yako December 10, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Although I agree with Chris and JS I also think that doing something is better than nothing, and if this helps to change the mind of at least one single human being then thats OK with me.

  13. JS December 10, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    chris, i agree. if this is ingenious, we’re going the way of 99% of species that came before us.

    there’s no more time for symbols or education, or even merely private action.

  14. chris December 10, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    isn’t the placement of these paper towel dispensers encouraging the use of them!? bizarre… why not just get rid of them all together

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