Cannes Lions

World Wildlife Fund "Safe Passage for Sea Creatures"


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As a charity that supports many worthy causes, it was critical that WWF provided a tangible solution for this issue, to minimise the risk of ‘donor fatigue’ amongst its existing supporters and to provide new donors with a compelling reason to get involved.

We discovered that there are five mega net commercial fishing licenses available in the Great Barrier Reef. If just one of those nets was removed from the Reef it would save 48,000 marine species per year and have a significant impact. So, we embarked on a bold plan to buy-back one of the licenses and take the net out of the Reef for good.

The license cost $100,000 and we needed to raise the investment quickly to prevent commercial fishing operations from owning it. The ‘Safe Passage for Sea Creatures’ idea was born and we set out to raise the required funds.


The four-week campaign was timed to launch in line with International Shark Awareness Day, July 14, to leverage the organic social engagement and media attention associated with the event.

The 90 second video was the core creative asset for the campaign, featuring on the WWF Facebook Page, on the online donation platform, as a media package accompanying the news release and in an eDM sent to existing WWF supporters.

A series of Facebook ad sets were created using the core assets and were targeted to users who align with a typical WWF-Australia supporter profile (using Facebook Lookalike Audiences), optimised based on performance.

Throughout the campaign, shareable pieces of relevant content were delivered through eDM and social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) that included Facebook Live video with shark experts.

A post campaign engagement plan was implemented to continue the conversation with supporters, including segmented eDMs and social media posts.


In just 48 hours we raised the $100,000 to buy the net, so we immediately increased the goal to buy a second fishing-net-license. And we achieved that too!

Over 4,000 donors contributed to the campaign, including 1,900 new donors to WWF-Australia, donating an average of $67 each, an increase of $17 on the organisation’s average gift amount.

The campaign generated earned media coverage both nationally and globally with coverage across online news platforms, press, TV and radio as well as global online platforms Mashable, Vice and Reddit.

The video on WWF’s Facebook page reached over 370,000 people, with more than 180,000 engagements and the targeted Facebook advertising campaign reached more than 540,000 people.

We created a lasting legacy through Government debate with the commercial fishing, tourism and marine conservation departments.

But most importantly we took two nets off our Reef forever, creating a Safe Passage for Sea Creatures.

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