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Hail To Ad Calls For Action On Plastic Pollution

As National Geographic and various online forums point out, the biggest problem with plastic is that most of it isn’t biodegradable. Made from chemicals derived from fossil fuels, It doesn’t rot, like paper or food, so instead it can continue to build up and remain in the environment for hundreds of years, threatening wildlife, spreading toxins, and contributing to global warming.

Biodegradable plastics have been around since the late 1980s. They initially were marketed with the implied promise, that decomposed by fungi and soil microbes, they’d disappear once they were disposed of. Unfortunately, biodegradable claims are not deliverable, especially in the dark, oxygen-free environments of commercial landfills, or in the cool waters of the ocean.

Each year, 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced and 40% of that is single-use-plastic that is only used once before it’s binned. The most disturbingly visual impacts of which, are the suffocation and entanglement of wildlife marine species, such as seabirds, whales, fishes and turtles, and the millions that die of starvation, as the result of ingesting plastic debris that they mistook as prey.

Concerted calls for action by lobby-groups and environmentalists, aided by morally principled manufactures, who are using recycled materials or pioneering environmentally harmless product container alternatives, and advertisers who utilise the prowess of their media reach to put pressure on governments, and mobilise activations by a responsive citizenry, are to be widely hailed and supported for their efforts.

1. Greenpeace, Wasteminster

Directed by the Dutch filmmaking and special effects duo of Jorik Dozy, and Sil van Der Woerd, Wasteminster, for the ever watchful environment activists at Greenpeace, is an impactful depiction of what would happen if the plastic waste the UK exports each day, was instead, dumped on 10 Downing Street.

Voiced by two of Britain’s best impressionists, Jon Culshaw and Matt Forde, with direct quotes from Boris Johnson and his government, the scenario features a humorous ‘plastic’ Boris Johnson, and the appearance of Environment Secretary Michael Grove, that highlights the seriousness of the plastic pollution crisis the UK is creating overseas, and calls for responsible remedial action by Westminster to stop passing the buck and being a duplicitous ‘Wasteminster’.

2. The Charoen Pokphand Group, The Girl and The Wale

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy, Bangkok, Thailand

The Charoen Pokphand Group is one the world’s largest conglomerates, based in Bangkok, and Thailand’s largest private company. Its multinational operations cover food production and distribution, retail businesses comprising over 12,000 7-Eleven stores, and Southeast Asia’s largest telecommunications provider with over 25 million mobile customers.

The C.P. Group’s corporate mission is to drive Thai society towards real sustainability, and one of its urgent tasks is to address the environmental problems that pose a real danger to human lives and the world we live in. Thailand alone, produces over 2 million tons of plastic waste every year, causing great damage to a fragile marine ecosystem.

Filmmaker Kumphol Witpiboolrut, directs a sensitive and emotive performance from his young star in ‘The Girl and The Wale’ scenario, about a young girl’s deeply-felt love of wales and her efforts to safeguard their well-being, that she diligently records in her diary in the hope to inspire others to follow her example.

3. Plastic Waste, The Plastic Issue

Advertising Agency: Hjaltelin Stahl, Copenhagen, Denmark

Producer: Kristoffer Kosloff

Photographer: Dennis Stenild

On their website, Plastic Change explains who they are, and what their aims are:

“Plastic Change is a Danish environmental organisation working hard to break the exponential growth of plastic pollution on a global scale. Plastic is everywhere; on land and in water. Three generations of plastic-use have left its tracks. Only a fraction of it is recycled or destroyed. The rest remains in nature for hundreds of years. We are ambitious, because the challenge is great!”

Shortly after Sport’s Illustrated’s published their new Swimsuit Issue, Plastic Change provocatively released ‘The Plastic Issue’ commercial on ‘World Oceans Day’ featuring model Solveig Mørk.

The integrated campaign of the world’s first swimsuit issue, that reveals the true picture of the plastic pollution affecting the worlds oceans and beaches, is an enterprising initiative with a public call to action “to take the pledge and reduce your plastic use at“.

4. WWF, Eurythenes Plasticus

AdVertising Agency: BBDO, Dusseldorf, Germany

Directed by designer, artist, and filmmaker Hans-Christoph Schultheiss of the Sehsucht, Production Company in Hamburg, Germany, BBDO’s ‘Eurythenes Plasticus’ commercial was initiated in support of the World Wide Fund For Nature’s global campaign to combat plastic pollution of our oceans.

Dr Alan Jamieson, Senior Lecturer in Marine Ecology at Newcastle University, headed a research exploration in the western Pacific Ocean’s, Mariana Trench. The deepest oceanic trench on Earth measuring about 2,550 km in length and 69 km in width.

Seven kilometres below sea level, they discovered a previously unknown species of deep-sea amphipods. Upon finding ingested Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) in their tiny bodies, a substance found in a variety of commonly used household items such as water bottles and workout clothes, they decided to name the amphipods ‘Eurythenes Plasticus’.

The commercial’s revelations, and accompanying soundtrack by German music composer Alex Komlew, make for compelling, call-to-action viewing.

5. Adidas & Parley, From The Oceans For The Oceans

Established in 2013 by fashion designer Cyrill Gutch, ’Parley For The Oceans’ seeks to form collaborative partnerships with companies in making brands less environmentally destructive and more ecologically sustainable.

Directed by Paris based HVH Films Production Company’s Boris Vassallo, along with Director of Photography Bertrand Marin, the commercial for Adidas & Parley’s successful co-operation endeavour, stars Coralie Balmy from La Trinité, Martinique.

The French, Olympic Free-style Swimmer, introduces the new Adidas swimwear range made from recycled ocean plastic, and used fishing nets, that have been converted into an innovative yarn fibre called Econyl for producing a cutting-edge, highly fashionable material, that is durable and very comfortable to wear.

6. Adidas & Parley, Run For The Oceans

Advertising Agency: Wunderman Thompson, Cairo, Egypt

Adidas partnered with Parley in 2015 to launch the global ‘Run For The Oceans’ movement, that to date has has united over 3 million runners around the world.

Directed by filmmaker Karim Fouad, the Egyptian ‘Run For The Oceans’ commercial’, epitomises the enthusiastic support the movement has received globally from runners in participating countries, that has raised $2.5 million for the development of educational school programs in the fight against marine plastic pollution.

So far Adidas has produced over 30 million pairs of running shoes made from recycled plastic waste from the oceans and their shores, and is on track to using only recycled polyester in its products by 2024.