Heal the Bay decided to ring in their 30th anniversary this July with a little bit of soul, some critters and a lot of time on Facebook.

The environmental group launched a digital campaign on July 3 comprised of a series of short videos that “give a voice to the sea and to the animals that live in its depths,” a press release stated. And according to Heal the Bay’s communication manager, Nick Colin, that voice comes through clearest on social media.

“Social media is our front door. Our strong social media presence on Facebook Instagram and Twitter, and Pinterest now, has eclipsed our homepage traffic, which is an interesting and new thing,” Colin said. “So we thought the best way to reach the most people, knowing that, is to send our message out on Facebook, which is our platform with the highest levels of engagement.”

Colin explained that the idea to have a digital campaign, “rather than say put up a bunch of billboards or print ads or a snazzy new design scheme for [the] website,” came about organically once they knew the platform they were going to utilize.

And McGann/Zhang, a new advertising agency based in both Los Angeles and Beijing, came on board to create just what Heal the Bay was looking for in the creative campaign elements.

“They came up with and produced all of the creative assets,” Colin said of the agency, who he commended for their interest in non-profit organizations. “They did everything with the videos, from shooting the ‘Soul’ segments to the dramatically different ‘Critter’ spots to the cinemagraphs.”

Colin said the two companies had several round table meetings where they reviewed their goals and market research and brainstormed about the vibe they wanted the campaign to convey. “McGann made us a menu of options and the final product is fabulous.”

The product consists of a dozen 15-second and 30-second videos separated into two series. The first series of videos “Soul,” combine poetry and slow-motion images of the bay, while the second series, “Critters,” which launches in August, uses prop-humor and live-action animation to engage audiences.

The campaign also includes ocean-related “Soul” cinemagraphs, “still photographs in which minor and repeated movement occurs subtly so as to simulate video,” a press release stated.

As far as the goal of the campaign goes, it is a numbers game to a certain extent. “We’d like to get 1,000 donations. So we would like to reach 1,000 new people,” Colin said. “That will tell us that our message is reaching a wider audience. So we’re trying to not preach to the choir basically. And we’ll see that by whose chosen to support us and if they have done so before. So we’ll consider it a success if we see some new faces in our mix.” The current requested donation, and promotional membership rate, is $30 to correspond with the 30th anniversary celebration.

“Since the campaign began on July 3, we’ve seen a 25 percent increase in online donations compared to this period last year,” Colin said. The campaign videos have also received over 131,000 views and Heal the Bay’s Facebook engagement is up 37 percent since the campaign began.

A new video is posted every Friday, with the campaign scheduled to run through the end of August.

To see the campaign videos visit http://www.healthebay.org/blogs-news/our-30th-ad-campaign-gives-voice-sea.

jennifer@www.smdp.com

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