Cannes Lions

Death Straws

DDB, Guaynabo / SCUBA DOGS SOCIETY / 2019

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The Internet was shook by a viral video of a turtle with a plastic straw embedded in its nose. Still, this continues to happen to many ocean species. In fact, “plastic waste kills an estimated 100,000 marine mammals annually, as well as millions of birds and fishes”, according to The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. In spite of that, in just the U.S. alone, estimates suggest 500 million straws are used every day.

Scuba Dogs Society is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization devoted to education and promotion of sustainable behaviors to reduce the human foot- print on our oceans. As such, it has been designated by Ocean Conservancy as the national coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup Day. This is why this campaign aims to both, raise widespread awareness about the plastic pollution issue and of Scuba Dog Society as an institution; in order to boost the recruitment of volunteers for the many coastal cleanup drives ahead and leading to the International Costal Cleanup Day.


In their stand for marine life Scuba Dogs needed a campaign to create awareness and a behavior change in the population.

To communicate how each straw contributes to a huge environmental problem, we gathered used straws and created sculptures shaped like the skeletons of some of the most threatened species. Then, we photographed the sculptures to create an impactful and widespread campaign for everyone who uses plastic carelessly.


Plastic and straw pollution are worldwide issues. However, Puerto Ricans are surrounded by beaches so, for them, issues that threaten the ocean and its species are specifically alarming. It becomes crucial to make them aware of the danger a seemingly innocuous plastic straw can inflict on marine life.

Locally, the President of Puerto Rico’s Natural Resources and Environmental Issues Commission estimates that 1.1 million straws are used yearly and at least 8,000 establishments continue to use them (a LOT for a small island).

Our approach was to target both local and international audiences with an impactful campaign that would persuade them to use more sustainable and ecofriendly options by placing the cumulative effect of straw usage at the forefront.

Strategy: a single straw might not seem like a big deal, but each one contributes to a huge environmental problem.


We created a campaign with the same things that kills marine species: used straws. Working with sculptors, we used these straws to create realistic 3D models of the “skeletons” of 3 of the most affected species. Then, they were photographed and given black backgrounds for a somber tone that highlights the gravity of the issue.

The campaign was timed to launch at the beginning of the summer season (high season in Puerto Rican beaches).

Large format OOHs were launched with heavy rotation in high traffic areas for beach goers; choosing locations such as beaches, nautical clubs and marinas.

The campaign was also placed strategically at restaurants, bars and venues where there’s a heavy consumption of beverages, to incite a change of behavior amongst visitors.

Additionally, we used press ads to further support articles and activities around the issues of plastic pollution, micro plastics, and the danger of straws in particular.


The campaign’s timely launch at the beginning of the Holy Week which marks the beginning of summer season will help to generate awareness of the issue. The communication effort builds around the approval of the Plastic Straws Ban in commercial establishments.

In spite of such a recent launch we have already accounted important results that demonstrate the impact of our campaign to build awareness on our community of the urgent need to control and remove plastic waste from our coastal habitats.

Results up to the 29th of April 30, 2019:

- 4 million Campaign impressions in Out of Home

- 1,275,000 Campaign impressions in print.

- 5.947.772.00 Impressions on earned media.

- 461 volunteers showed up at cleaning drives island wide.

- 6,452 pounds of waste was collected from 4 important coastal sites between the 17th and 21st of April 30, 2019