IFAW Turtle Beach Event

Best Green Advertising Award (Press and Outdoor/Creativity)


IFAW Turtle Beach Event

Background & Objective

Each year UK customs officials seize thousands of wildlife items – including ivory ornaments, coral jewellery and sharks’ teeth – at airports and seaports around the country, many of which are tourist souvenirs that have been brought back by unwitting tourists.


In order to raise awareness of the impact of the wildlife souvenir trade on endangered turtles and other threatened species IFAW “released” 200 life-size cardboard turtles on a busy weekend at Bournemouth beach.  When members of the public flipped the turtles on their backs they saw the message “Turning the turtle over is the first thing the poachers do” along with a note telling them not to buy wildlife souvenirs.


The International Fund for Animal Welfare works to protect endangered species worldwide.  ”Turtle Beach Event” was an effort to raise public awareness in a fun and exciting way which engaged people of all ages. It also directed people to IFAW website, where they can support them by joining one of their campaigns or by donating.


Members of the public were encouraged to take the turtles away with them.  This meant that there was little wastage and allowed the turtles to be a talking point wherever they ended up.



200 life-size cardboard turtles (made out of 100% recycled materials) were printed and assembled by IFAW and Wav Rapp staff.  The turtles were then trucked down to Bournemouth, where staff “released” them onto the beach early in the morning on a busy weekend.


Throughout the day, staffs were on hand to discuss the campaign with members of the public and to guide them towards further information or action.
Dozens of media outlets were notified in advance and interviews were done on-site by staff.


Bournemouth beach was chosen because of the high footfall and also because in the wild real sea turtles lay their eggs on beaches and this is where they’re most vulnerable.



The video was aimed at a wide range of people.  IFAW chose the time of year to coincide with the start of the holiday season.  This insured that people would have the campaign in mind when they went abroad and were confronted with turtle products.



An estimated 600,000 people were exposed to IFAW’s wildlife trade campaign through print and broadcast media and at the beach event itself.


Seven regional and two national newspapers covered the event and one television station did an interview with IFAW staff.


One of the biggest achievements of the turtle event was that it engaged people at the event to take away the turtles to be used as teaching aids to educate friends, family, co-workers, students and children about the plight of sea turtles.  IFAW estimate that an additional 300,000 people would have been reached as a result.


During the turtle event and for three days afterwards they saw a marked increase in website traffic.  This brought new donors and activists to IFAW and will help them carry out further public education campaigns regarding the trade in endangered species.



The concept was pro-bono and IFAW paid for the printing of the turtles @£2000 and we constructed the turtles in-house.