World Wetlands Day 2015. New digital strategy & clear target audience for a campaign.

Helder Santana, 23, a self-taught photographer and musician from Brazil, won the first Wetlands Youth Photo Contest with this  incredible image of a horse and its rider rising out of a river near his hometown of Passira in Pernambuco state.

I developed proposals on how to increase the impact of World Wetlands Day (WWD), the Ramsar Convention's annual awareness day - and its single biggest PR activity.

After interviewing stakeholders and reviewing previous studies, I recommended the following strategy and steps for WWD 2015:

  • Specifically target WWD at youth aged 15-24; savvy extroverts who act as transmitters to families & friends
  • Give them a reason to experience wetlands for themselves: the Wetlands Youth Photo Contest (see photo)
  • Provide a range of materials on the importance of wetlands and the urgency of their loss for teachers and organizers to download
  • Center the campaign around a new dedicated website and support with an extensive social media campaign
  • Link all materials to Ramsar Convention pages on facebook, twitter and Instagram
Result: major increase in impact

Extensive measurement and evaluation of World Wetlands Day 2015 activities showed:

  • Record number of countries involved
  • 2200 photo contest entries from 80 nations
  • Quadrupling in downloads of campaign material from 2014 to 2015
  • Tripling in press mentions - with coverage spread much more globally
  • Over 56,600 website visitors

Support materials World Wetlands Day 2015

Beyond coming up with the strategy, I then authored all WWD 2015 support materials, including four hand-outs and a teacher and organizer guide.  In parallel, I was also asked to write a series of Fact Sheets on key wetland issues, with a lifespan beyond the event itself.  Spanish and French versions were based on my English originals.

Click image to view/download:

World Wetlands Day 2015 hand-outs

Single-sided sheets designed for teachers to use as mini-posters or hand-outs ahead of World Wetlands Day

Teacher & organizer guide for WWD

Ideas, tips and source materials for educators and event organizers around World Wetlands Day 2015

Wetlands Fact Sheet series: 1-4

The start of a range of reference sheets on the importance and benefits of wetlands, framed for an interested but non-expert audience

Wetlands Fact Sheet 7: Sustainable Livelihoods

Outlines how conserving wetlands supports sustainable livelihoods and communities, with two short case studies. This supplemented WWD in 2016.

Graphic design for Ramsar Convention publications by Stefan Wassmer