Its hard to get many people really to care about trees. Especially if you’re a small organization, the trees you are talking about are somewhere in a rainforest and the people you are talking to are urban people who have very little concept of what a rainforest might be.
But it’s much easier to get people to care about ‘families’.
The brilliance of the advertizing campaign designed by Sergej Chursyn (Ogilvy and Mather, Frankfurt) is that it brings the concept of ‘family’ to a rainforest full of trees.
Designed for a small charity – Oro Verde – and intended as a fundraising campaign, the simple slogan was mounted on 600+ trees which were also fitted with small donation boxes. How the campaign was envisaged and its success are described in the video below.
The brilliance of the campaign lies not only in its recruitment of 600 trees as fundraisers but in its use of the concept of ‘family’. This brings a strong emotional element to the campaign that would be impossible to achieve if the focus were solely on the trees or if the campaign were one of the usual attempts to drown people in scientific fact or in the gloom and doom narrative of how our rainforests are being destroyed. “I’m raising money for my family” touches deep-seated emotional responses that are reflexive and almost irresistible. It also somehow brings the appeal close to home as opposed to out there, far away in the rainforest.
The fact that it’s the tree talking adds an element of wit and humor that only serves to enhance people’s ability to identify with the campaign. People donate with a smile rather than being put off by the usual guilt based narrative of “the trees are being destroyed and it’s your fault because you’re a wealthy, Western consumer.”
A wonderful campaign from which we can all learn.