BBH London’s George Robb and Sophie Taylor partner with Just One Ocean in a spot highlighting the fashion industry’s impact on marine life, writes LBB’s Nisna Mahtani
35% of ocean microplastics originate from the fashion industry. This stark fact is what BBH’s George Robb and Sophie Taylor were keen to convey in their partnership with Just One Ocean, a charity committed to removing ocean plastic. Playing on the names of popular clothing retailers, their alternative rebranding was not only a comment on the fashion industry but also a push towards more sustainable practices.
‘Fashion Fish’ launched during London Fashion Week 2022 and showcased a luxury boutique full of fish that were filled with microplastics and available to buy now. In tanks across the store were Urban Troutfitters, PrettyLittleFins, Hugo Bass, Victoria’s Seahorse, Massimo Dory and many more. In a bid to get people talking, on the Fashion Fish website, viewers were able to ‘buy’ the fish - which meant donating to the Just One Ocean cause.
The campaign features a signature runway/catwalk soundtrack accompanied by what can only be described as high fashion and German narration to talk us through each tank on display. As passers-by admire the live exhibit, celebrities such as Andrew Garfield were found peering at the tanks which call the industry to action.
To talk us through the campaign, the creative team, consisting of BBH’s George Robb and Sophie Taylor, speak to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani.
LBB> Tell us about the initial stages of this project, what did Just One Ocean want to convey?
George> We actually had the idea during a pitch for an environmentally-friendly fashion brand, but they didn’t buy it. Not wanting to let a fun idea die, we approached the fine folk at Just One Ocean and they were keen.
LBB> What were your first impressions and what did you specifically want to get out of the campaign?
Sophie> Donation was important. But getting consumers to change their shopping habits and switch to more sustainable brands came first. We also wanted to steer clear of doom and gloom messaging and deal with the issue of ocean pollution in a way that raised a smile.
LBB> This is a comment on the fast fashion industry and is taking place during London Fashion Week. Why was the timing of this piece so important?
Sophie> During Fashion Week, the fashion industry takes itself particularly seriously, which is always good turf for parody. Consumers are encouraged to splurge on clothes without realising the impact they’re having. During this week of spending and glamourous fashion shows, it felt like the perfect moment to shine a spotlight on the darker side of the fashion industry.
LBB> The campaign feels like an infomercial but has the narration of a fashion show. Can you talk us through your vision for the video and how long it took to create?
George> Our vision was ‘let’s parody High Fashun’, but make it look cheap like a fast fashion brand, and do it all with no budget, a camera provided by the charity’s CEO and a basic understanding of iMovie. We only had about five hours to shoot and edit so we could launch in time for Fashion Week. Luckily the fish were classically trained so they made the process very efficient. Except for the Pike. He was a real diva so we’ve made his name dirt in the industry.
LBB> The names of brands merged with fish, how did that come up as a concept and what was the process of renaming and rebranding?
George> We saw a shocking stat that 35% of ocean microplastics originate from the fashion industry. Fish ingest these fibres, which means there are designer fish out there. So we squeezed out some puns and merged the worlds of fish and fashion, targeting some of fashion’s worst offenders.
LBB> Let’s talk about the narration. What was the casting process like and how did you come up with the script that fits the campaign and cause so well?
Sophie> The casting process (if you can call it that) consisted of us spending an hour trawling through Fiverr looking for amateur German voiceover artists who could speak English and had a Fashun-y voice for a reasonable price. Luckily we found JumpKickz_92, a true talent.
LBB> Were there any challenges to this project and can you tell us how you overcame them?
George> Finding fish you could rent was surprisingly hard. Luckily Tash O’Neill and George Kirman at EDNAEDNA, a new space branding and immersive experience agency, nailed it. They found us some fish and some fish keepers to keep them healthy and well looked after. They’re real fish gurus now, so hit them up if you need a sturgeon.
LBB> What has the response to the campaign been like so far?
Sophie> We heard that Andrew Garfield was spotted admiring the fish, so we’re expecting a call about a new fish-pun-based superhero franchise any minute now.
George> Facebook user Alexander Vandervolk said “This is actually genius.” Another user, Redmond Facey, said “What a load of shite. I assume you walk around naked then?” If only he knew…