Return to Sender


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Based in Switzerland, big oil traders like Trafigura blend cheap fuel with sulfur levels hundred times over European limits. They sell the «dirty diesel» in African countries where the weakness of local fuel standards can be exploited. The Swiss NGO Public Eye published a 160-page report about the dirty business. In order to expose this practice and to push Trafigura to change it, the NGO had to act and to present the findings to a larger public. Public Eye asked us to create a campaign that communicates the extensive subject in a smart way and asked us to mobilize as much people as possible to sign a petition against the dirty business of Trafigura.


The core idea of this campaign is to make people act against the dirty business of the commodities giant Trafigura. As the company pollutes the air with dirty diesel in Ghana and other West African countries, we sent the dirty air back to the sender with the help of African activists. A big stunt - local activists collecting air - in Ghana kicked off the campaign, then the container was shipped to Switzerland. On the way, we generated real and relevant participation and interaction. In the end, the dirty air was handed over to Trafigura in Geneva, with a highly media-covered Live Stunt.


The campaign was implemented in three phases. In phase one, the audience was shown a teaser film with local people capturing the polluted air into canisters and return it to the sender. A lot of major media platforms around the world reported about the story of the dirty diesel. In phase 2, the journey of the dirty air to Switzerland started and was a public event. Users could follow the cargo ship in real time on the website, including precise geolocation of the container ship, weather data and progression. The website also contained extensive information about the report. It led to a petition demanding Trafigura to stop their dirty business and focus on their goal of becoming market leader in social responsibility. The hook of Phase 3 was the delivery of the dirty air to the sender, to Trafigura in Geneva. This event was covered by national TV.

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