Can one goldfish inspire action against plastic pollution?

Non-Profit Illustrates Impact of Ocean Pollution Through Eyes of Hopeful Goldfish

New York — May 10, 2011 – Project Kaisei (www.projectkaisei.org), the ocean cleanup initiative  of non-profit Ocean Voyages Institute, dedicated to ridding our world ocean of plastic, is taking the unconventional approach of using a single goldfish as its not-so-secret fundraising weapon.  The quirky, 30-day campaign centers on a streaming video of “Kai” (pronounced Kī) a small goldfish involved in an epic battle against plastic pollution.

Titled ‘Save Kai,’ the campaign aims to turn Facebook fans into active donors by using an aquarium-sized representation of the swirling mass collection of plastic that daily threatens and kills marine life in the currents of the North Pacific Gyre.

Save a goldfish. Save marine life.
Via a 24-hour webcam supported by LiveStream, consumers can follow Kai and witness firsthand his plight, which mirrors the same threats faced by millions of fish due to encroaching ocean plastic pollution. For 30 days, Kai will dwell in a segregated space within an aquarium filled with plastic material, representing the Plastic Vortex. To “Save Kai” and remove plastic from his castle in the sea, participants can make donations via Facebook in as little as $5 increments from now through just after World Ocean’s Day on June 10.

As donations increase, the plastic debris in the aquarium decreases, creating a safe and plastic-free environment for Kai to enjoy. All proceeds from the campaign will go toward helping Project Kaisei fund scientific research and clean up expeditions.

“During our 2010 expedition we were shocked to find plastic pieces floating on the surface of the water 1,000 miles offshore in one of the most remote ecosystems on Earth,” explains Doug Woodring, co-founder of Project Kaisei. “With this campaign we want to help people around the world to understand the impact of plastic pollution in the ocean and rethink our use of materials that end up there as debris.”

“It is imperative that we begin cleanup efforts now,” said Mary Crowley, Project Kaisei co-founder and Executive Director of Ocean Voyages Institute. “The ‘Save Kai’ campaign is a chance for us to get the public involved in healing our oceans and ensuring that Kai and other sea creatures get to live in a clean ocean environment.”

Digging deeper for a global cause
The campaign was developed by Cohn & Wolfe, a global communications agency known for its provocative branding campaigns (it once attempted to re-brand the New York City rat). As part of its pro-bono partnership with Project Kaisei, the agency led a global Think Tank session, “Dig Deeper. Imagine More.” Day, challenging 15 of its offices around the world to create a campaign that would cost just $1,000, be orchestrated in 30 days, and raise 10 times that amount to help fund Project Kaisei’s next ocean expedition.

“Anyone can create a global campaign if you have millions of dollars and an entire year to execute it,” explained Cohn & Wolfe Chief Creative Catalyst Jeremy Baka.  “This was a creative exercise to push our people’s thinking to the outer limits, giving them almost no money or time to design a program that would accomplish something rewarding.  Who knew the idea would center on a single goldfish? We know people will donate to help save Kai.”
 

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About Cohn & Wolfe
Founded in 1970, Cohn & Wolfe is a global communications agency driven by a culture of innovation and an uncompromised commitment to creativity. As one of the first PR agencies to offer a full-service global sustainability practice, Cohn & Wolfe’s annual Green Brands survey is the foremost study of consumers' perception of green practices in business and which brands they think are best at being green. Cohn & Wolfe's award-winning brand marketing and world-class digital media campaigns continue to attract top brands around the world—clients who crave a deeper, more dynamic connection with their customers and stakeholders. With over 1,000 employees in more than 50 offices across North America, EMEA, and Asia, Cohn & Wolfe is part of WPP (Nasdaq: WPPGY)  one of the world's largest communications services group.

About Project Kaisei/Ocean Voyages Institute
Project Kaisei was launched in 2008 by co-founders Mary Crowley, George Orbelian and Doug Woodring as the ocean cleanup initiative of Ocean Voyages Institute a California 501(c)3 organization formed in 1979. Project Kaisei is an international mission with offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong and partners, collaborators and supporters around the globe. With a comprehensive approach unique among the conservation groups concerned with the marine debris issue, Project Kaisei is working to stop the flow of materials into the ocean, organizing scientific expeditions to determine impacts of debris and exploring remediation solutions with minimal impact on sea life and the marine environment. Project Kaisei is recognized by the United Nations Environmental Programme, nominated as a Google Earth Hero and in September 2010 was honored by former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative. For more information, visit www.projectkaisei.org.