Crusty and Chrisso educate the South West on the smart ways to fertilise

Two unlikely mates, here to change the world

Spoiler Alert!

Usually this is something we hate, but we're going to tell you how this story ends. Right now.

The campaign is working very well indeed. The community loves it, the client loves it, other clients love it. And yes, we love it too.

Two crabs. One grumpy and jaded. One positive and idealstic. What's not to love?

From the very beginning, when we developed the first 'Save The Crabs' campaign for the South West Catchments Council (SWCC) the aim was to make people more aware of the effects of fertiliser run-off. It is washed from our backyards into the gutters and down stream into our water ways, rivers and oceans. Not surprisingly, it's very unhealthy for marine life.

The solution is to get people to stop fertilising in winter, when it's raining, and hold off until Spring, when it does more good for the garden anyway. Simple. Now, to get a few thousand households to get that message.

The first campaign used humour and it worked well. During post-campaign research the client team found that the idea of the crabs was one of the most engaging elements of the campaign. People can relate to the idea of going crabbing, the crab festival, catching and eating crabs etc. So, our brief for the evolution of the campaign was to increase the focus on the crabs.

We knew from our understanding of the target market that they don't want to be given directives and thet don't want to be lectured to. Messages about doom and distaster were never going to work. So, for our pitch to win the second stage of the campaign we proposed bringing to life a pair of plush novelty crab slippers from the first campaign.

That's right. Plush blue crabs. Talking crabs. Crabs with attitude.

We called them Chrisso and Crusty, one young and optimistic, one old and grumpy. The personalities created some good character tension and plenty of opportunities for humour.

Humour is the key here, and it has worked beautifully. The campaign never takes itself or the underlying issues too seriously. The crab slippers are taken out into the world where they comment on human behaviours and the effect they have on the marine envirnment. The humour is always very important and has been maintained throughout the campaign, in TV, Radio and Print executions.

It is the humour and the visual comedy of the crab slippers that makes the campaign accessible and attractive to everyone from small children and Mums right through to the Dads and the blokey-blokes. People like the characters, they make them smile, so we've been able to deliver a serious message and make it memorable, while avoiding a serious delivery of the key messages.

The ingredients in this project that led to a successful campaign as the final product give us a perfect example of what should be aimed for at the start of every communications project, whether it is a behavioural change campaign or something completely different. The core principles remain the same and can be translated to other sectors and media channels.

So, the quality, organic ingredients that set this project up for success are as follows:

- Excellent understanding of the problem, causational behaviour and desired behavioral change.

- Well articulated brief and clear direction for the evolution of the campaign.

- Clear understanding of the target market and plenty of market insights.

- Willingness to try something different.

- Understanding of the value of humour as an engagement tool.

Whether you're trying to achieve behavioural change, adjust the market's understanding of your business or inspire them to buy from your business, getting some of the above ingredients into your mix at the very beginning will dramatically increase the chances of producing a highly effective campaign.

While Chrisso and Crusty continue to gain traction, increase awareness and change fertiliser use behaviors, the campaign has also been seen by other groups similar to SWCC. They have contacted SWCC and are collaborating with them on the extension of the campaign into new markets.

That is an exciting prospect for us and another fantastic endorsement of the campaign and its power.