Breaking the plastic habit – an idea whose time has come

Sam Bainbridge

Breaking the plastic habit – an idea whose time has come

The V&A Waterfront is committed to sustainable practices, and has been addressing a variety of economic, cultural and environmental efforts on the property that lead and drive change for a number of years. As one of Cape Town’s leading destinations, they have set the pace for water, waste and energy efficiency measures in their own operations, as well as guiding tenants on sustainability matters, sharing information about resource savings with visitors, and prompting people to take individual action.

Our brief

The agency brief was to kick-off a public communications campaign with an interactive exhibition to bring attention to the impact of single-use plastic on the environment - in just under three weeks, stand build included!

The focus of the campaign was to promote the V&A’s decision to eliminate single-use plastic bags and straws on the property, and to encourage consumers to change their current behaviour as a means to preserving our oceans and future food-chains.

Work in progress

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The simplexity

Prior to the public exhibition launch, we needed to devise a simple B2B message strategy that would encourage tenants to take ownership of the campaign, while informing them of the vision of a plastic-free property, as a public campaign would only succeed if tenants were in full support of – and part of – the solution.

We needed to create a single visual and message for the exhibition, that would provide a memorable reality-check to consumers and would be aesthetically interesting and engaging, yet very real.

To get more buy-in, we needed to convert a negative into a positive through a simple call to action. One that anyone could relate to: Choose not to use.

Our solution

The primary message 'Choose Not to Use Single-use Plastic' was supported by a single call-to-action that encouraged people to reduce their plastic footprint and recycle materials currently in hand. The stand included information on how to re-use some of these plastics in a more environmentally-friendly way by creating EcoBricks These plastic bottles, wadded tight with unrecyclable plastic can be exchanged for resources which support early childhood development.

Exhibition stand concept mockups

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Our approach

The campaign launched in Centre Court at the V&A on International Plastic Bag Free Day with a life-size skeleton of a Southern Right whale made from reused plastic litter. It was surrounded and supported by video and reading materials that raised awareness on the effects of plastics on the environment and marine life.

The decision to build a whale from plastics came about as a result of the recent spate of dead whales, found with between 8kg and 27kg of plastic in their digestive systems. The opportunity to showcase the damage done through plastic pollution in our oceans was an important one.

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To create further engagement, shoppers were encouraged to reduce their footprint and exchange 10 plastic bags for a free reusable one, courtesy of the V&A. If moved by what they’d learned and seen, they were further encouraged to pledge support for the movement on their social media feeds, using the hashtag #PlasticFreeVandA.

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The week-long exhibition, built by Maker Station was promoted onsite on all the property’s LED touchscreens. Brochures and other reading materials specifically directed at educating V&A tenants on supplying viable alternatives to bags and straw were distributed to tenants via interactive closed events.

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The results

Being of such a topical nature, the exhibition rapidly gathered press coverage, proving it to be an idea whose time has come.

You can read more here: News24  |  Traveller24  |  The Two Oceans Aquarium

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Our Work

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