The Challenge

Environmental Defense Fund is tackling serious environmental challenges with a truly effective – but also complex – approach: partner with powerful businesses to clean up corporate supply chains. EDF joined forces with a global retailer to develop and test this approach, which shifted the weight off of consumers and onto retailers and manufacturers to demand more sustainable products from their suppliers.

Now they wanted to share it with other businesses, donors and influencers. Enter Shelton Group. We were tasked to communicate both the goals and the scientific validity of the approach so that more companies would embrace the idea – and be inspired to take action.

The Insight

Supply chains are really complex. Businesses needed to understand how this approach worked before they would engage with EDF’s resources, but complicated explanations or scientific jargon would be a quick turn-off to them.

That meant we needed to translate this complex process into a clear and powerful narrative that audiences could wrap their heads around. As we learned more about the ins and outs of EDF’s approach to cleaning up supply chains, we realized it boiled down to a mechanically simple concept: the lever.

The Solution

The lever was a perfect metaphor to describe the role EDF could help large retailers and manufacturers take – the role of leading their entire supply chains to greater sustainability and baking sustainability into every product on their shelves.

Based on this metaphor, we wrote and illustrated an online video that reeled in viewers with an evocative, emotionally compelling story – the why behind EDF’s approach. The video served as the centerpiece of a series of Web pages we created, where copy and interactive infographics fleshed out how EDF’s approach works – and how to get involved.

The simple but sophisticated look and feel was designed to help the viewer open up to the complex idea rather than turn away right off the bat because it looked too complicated, while also emphasizing EDF’s expertise. The end result was an engaging story that allowed our target audiences to understand the genius of the strategy … and to start leading the way toward real change.

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