Media > Channels


AMV BBDO, London / MARS / 2022


Grand Prix Cannes Lions
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Why is this work relevant for Media?

The epicentre of the campaign is a giant, ambient billboard, built to prove to a sceptical world that coral could be restored. What better way to do that than to let the media be the message?

On an atoll destroyed by bombing, we grew over 3 years, a huge living, thriving coral billboard. When viewed from the air it spelled out the word HOPE at such scale it was captured by satellites and incorporated into Google Earth, Maps and StreetView.

Ambient media created an image so powerful it travelled far beyond local footfall, connecting consumers to a wider media ecosystem.


Cats adore fish, but today fish are under threat and the coral reefs, that 25% of all marine life rely on, could be extinct by 2050. As a premium brand of cat food that promises to deliver ‘What Cats Want’, Sheba took action to ensure a future with fish, not just for cats but for the millions who rely on them.

A commitment to 100% sustainable fish sourcing was a start but fish can only be sustainable if their environment is too.

Sheba developed a groundbreaking reef restoration technique called “Reef Stars” and launched the world’s largest coral restoration program, commiting to restore >185,000 square metres of reef by 2029. But this alone wouldn’t save the world’s reefs.

The brief was to make Sheba’s commitment to sustainable fish unmissable, to show off this powerful new solution, ultimately inspiring both governments and consumers to take part in restoring coral reefs.

Describe the creative idea / insights

Sheba put hope for coral reefs on the map. Literally.

The world became our medium when Sheba created the world’s first billboard made from real, living, thriving coral. Using Reef Stars, we transformed what once was a barren site of dead coral into a new reef the size of two olympic swimming pools. When viewed from the air it spelt out a poignant message - HOPE.

But this wasn’t just a billboard for restoration, every part of the campaign gave people the chance to learn more and take part. In a global first partnership with Google, the reef became accessible to billions when it was given Historical Landmark status on Google Earth, Maps & StreetView.

Through an innovative Youtube fundraiser, Sheba became a ‘content creator’ and let consumers become actively involved in reef restoration from their living rooms, generating funds for a crowdfunded reef through ad revenue.

Describe the strategy

With images of destruction and despair dominating global news - rainforests on fire, flash floods wiping away communities, it was clear why pessimism was rife (89% of people said the world is getting worse, TGI 2020) and why the crisis we face was feeling insurmountable.

But, unlike most climate stories, we were armed with real proof that there could be man-made solutions to man-made problems. Good news was our gift.

Sheba’s strategy was to use its positive progress as a call to arms, taking advantage of the power of momentum to not only raise the profile of reef restoration but to inspire and enable the world to take part.

It was crucial that we didn’t just talk to consumers about what Sheba was doing, but ensure that anyone, anywhere could actively help.

Describe the execution

We planted Hope Reef in August 2019 but this was truly a campaign at the speed of mother nature, we then had to wait for the reef to grow. To our surprise it was visible on Google Earth as early as November 2019.

We launched in a concerted global push in May 2020 -designed to cause maximum impact and land that we really had planted a huge reef spelling out HOPE. We achieved this with a combination of PR outreach where the visual of our ambient outdoor - Hope Reef - made global news broadcasts, alongside, influencer partnerships and a series of fame-driving OOH executions. These showcased the visual of Hope Reef alongside its coordinates which drove people to Google Maps to view it for themselves and “swim it” on Underwater Streetview. This then connected to which pulled in our YouTube channel and answered any questions anyone might have

List the results

Sheba set out to have a positive impact on the future of fish, to increase brand salience, and grow sales.

The reef is thriving, with 70% coral coverage, +300% fish abundance, +175% average fish size and +10% more species. Over 1 million people have explored Hope Reef on Google Maps and Sheba’s “Reef Star” System has been adopted by 5 more countries, with 40,000 sqm of reef regrown so far. With 20 million views, our YouTube ‘Channel That Grows Coral’ has raised enough funds for a new crowdfunded reef.

Global PR coverage resulted in 2.5billion earned impressions across major titles including BBC, Forbes and National Geographic and drove a 276% increase in positive social conversations about reef restoration. With this, brand awareness grew +17% and purchase intent by +14%.

Finally, with a campaign ROI of 308%, it’s proof you can build business value while making a meaningful difference.

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