Welcome to the paradise of Palau. But like many places that bear such a title, this proud island nation suffers the consequences of its beauty, with tourism taking its toll on the environment. Another island, Baracay, went so far as to courageously cut off their lifeblood industry for 6 months to clean up, allow the coral reefs and land to recover for a future of eco tourism.
But what better way to gain respect and cooperation than get the perpetrators to sign their own identification records, for the sake of the protection of its people and their environment? Working with agency Host/ Havas, Palau did just that, their campaign grabbing an impressive 8 pencils at the D&AD awards this week including a black one – the highest of them all.
Using a method proven by behavioural psychology, their pledge is a plea to tourists not just to act in an environmentally friendly way, but to understand the plight of Palauans and their dependence on their pristine surroundings, not just by signing their own passports, but promoting the protection and respect for future Palau generations via a mandatory film on the plane trip over telling the story of a friendly giant unaware of his strength and destructive behaviour. Soon enough however, he learns to live in harmony with the planet, by listening to the locals’ advice. Having now been integrated into children’s education on the island, the initiative hopes to enjoy the benefits of eco tourism for many generations to come.
In the words of Seamus Higgins, Executive Creative Director at Australian agency Host/Havas
“We knew that to inspire a true and lasting change in behaviour, we had to find a way to make every visitor stop and think, that would transcend culture and nationality. This is behavioural psychology, innovative legislation and creativity coming together to do something that’s never been done before.”