Oceana: Setting the Agenda

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PREAMBLE

In conjunction with the Our Ocean Conference 2019, Oceana, the largest international advocacy organisation dedicated solely to ocean conservation, wanted to set the agenda ahead of the conference. Within a limited timeframe PR-operatørene got Oceana to be the only international organisation to receive coverage in Norwegian national media at the start of the conference.

BACKGROUND

The seas are facing a massive and growing threat from plastic and overfishing. According to Oceana, an estimated 8 billion kilos of plastic end up in the ocean every year – almost like dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute. Plastic production is expected to quadruple by 2050. Plastics affect everything in our oceans from zooplankton, fish and birds, to sea turtles and whales.

Approximately one third of the world’s fish stocks are overfished. According to Oceana, modern-day pirates continue to pillage our oceans, threatening nations that rely on seafood as a primary source of protein. Oceana is working with governments around the world to increase transparency of their commercial fishing activities to expose problems that were once hidden beyond the horizon.

At the Our Ocean Conference 2019, Oceana set the aim to encourage authorities and companies to take greater responsibility for cleaning up and changing practices, in both global fisheries and plastic production. The brief came just one month before the conference and time was an issue we had to handle.

GOALS

The goal was to set the agenda for the conference and to get the message out at the start of the conference in both deserved and paid media. The aim was to encourage authorities and companies to take greater responsibility for cleaning up and changing practices, in both global fisheries and plastic production, as well as to further build awareness of the organization and the work they do.

IMPLEMENTATION

During the conference there was a lot of competition for the attention. Oceana was not part of the official program, although representatives from the organisation attended and gave appeals at various events organized by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Therefore, three important strategic steps were taken to ensure that Oceana got the visibility they deserved and that could help set the agenda for the conference.

 

  1. Visibility in the arrival and departure halls at Gardermoen, Oslo Airport, before and during the conference, with films from Oceana on the screens at the baggage belts, as well as in transit and street screens.
  2. Oceana was virtually unknown as an organization in Norway, so it became important to find a Norwegian ambassador who could contribute with credibility to convey the message and ensure local support.
  3. A media roundtable, the day before the conference started, where Oceana could help set the agenda, as well as meet both Norwegian and international media and decision makers.

 

In order to help Ocean gain visibility and relevance during the event, it was decided that where we could best reach the participants attending the conference, and where there was less competition for attention, was in the arrival and departure halls at Gardermoen, Oslo Airport.

As Oceana was virtually unknown in Norway and for Norwegian media, it was important to establish a local connection and anchoring. Oceana therefore wanted to find a Norwegian ambassador who could contribute to this work. Adventurer Cecilie Skog`s profile and values ​​were a good fit for Oceana. After an initial dialogue with Cecilie it became clear that she also wanted to participate, without compensation, because Oceana’s work also was important to her.

There was a lot of competition for attention during the conference. To make sure Oceana had the opportunity to set the agenda, they invited to a press roundtable the day before the conference started. The event was held at Amerikalinjen Hotel, which was only a few minutes’ walk from The Hub, where the conference itself was to be held.

RESULTS

  • The exposure at Gardermoen in both the Arrivals and Departures Hall resulted in 370,000 travellers potentially being exposed to the campaign, according to Clear Channel.
  • About 20 journalists and decision-makers attended the roundtable, including the Financial Times, Dagens Næringsliv, NTB, Dagsavisen, representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, trade unions, environmental activists and others.
  • The day after the event and on the day the conference started Ocean received a double page with a frontpage mention, in print and online, in Dagsavisen from the event with interviews with Oceana’s spokespersons, as well as interviews on TV2 News Channel and with ARTE – a European TV network.
  • The roundtable also led to coverage in radio, regional and local newspapers, niche and industry media in Norway.
  • Furthermore, an op-ed written by Senior Adviser in Oceana, Alexandra Cousteau, was published by Dagsavisen (paper and online) on October 24, the same day that she held an appeal at an official event during the conference with among others such as Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide and HRH Crown Prince Haakon Magnus present.
  • In addition, Oceana’s engagement and presence at the conference also got attention in international media, including the Financial Times, ARTE TV, and more.
  • In short, Oceana set the agenda for the conference and was the only international organisation to receive coverage in national media (TV, print, Online & radio) at the start of the conference.
  • In addition: Adventurer and Oceana ambassador, Cecilie Skog, also wrote an op-ed afterwards, to press her engagement for the problems facing our oceans, if governments and businesses do not act. It was published in Sunnmørsposten (paper and web).

 

The ultimate and most important result. The Norwegian Government pledged 3 Billion Norwegian kroners equal to almost 300 million EURO, to conserve and protect our oceans, at the end of the conference.

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