Ad Nut
Sep 16, 2021

Spokes-animals give China environmental advice

A campaign celebrating the fifth anniversary of Alipay's Ant Forest game has captured attention in China with a series of videos in which animals model 'green' behaviours.

Dentsu Mcgarrybowen created the above series of short videos to mark the fifth anniversary of Ant Forest, a gamified environmental initiative available inside the Alipay mobile app. The game lets people earn points for taking environmentally conscious actions such as walking or recycling. Earning a certain number of points results in a tree being planted, and users get to view the location of 'their' trees via satellite images.

Alipay says that more than 600 million people have reduced carbon emissions by more than 20 million tons through the game, and have planted more than 326 million trees in desertified areas, covering a total area of more than 26,500 square kilometres. The effort has also set up 18 public welfare reserves across China, guarding an area of more than 2,000 square kilometres. And the game won a Champions of the Earth award from the UN in 2019.  

For those who don't speak Mandarin, here's a translation of the voiceovers. Each spot ends with a call to action (highlighted in green on the screen) and then the words, "This is the very green life. I am changing, so it is with Earth. Please search 'Ant Forest' on Alipay."

  1. Birds on water buffalo: "Dear Passengers, Welcome on board to Subway Line No.1! The next station is East Railway Station."
    Call to action: "Travel by Subway."
  2. Birds in nest: "Hello, your takeaway has arrived, without disposable cutlery. Enjoy your meal!"
    Call to action: "Order takeaway with less disposable cutlery."
  3. Kangaroo: "55 yuan in total. Do you need a plastic bag? No, thanks. I have my own bag."
    Call to action: "Bring your own bags when you are shopping."
  4. Chimpanzee: "Please face the screen. Please confirm payment. Successful payment. Please choose if you want to print out the receipt."
    Call to action: "Please use e-payment without printing receipts."
  5. Crab: "Sichuan Boiled Fish is ready. Do you need disposable chopsticks? No, thanks. I have my own."
    Call to action: "Please use fewer disposable chopsticks."
  6. Penguins: "You don’t need to queue for ticket collection, with online booking. Swipe your ID card and enter the train station directly."
    Call to action: "Buy tickets online and use less paper."
  7. Elephant: [Slurping sounds].
    Call to action: "Please Use fewer disposable straws."
  8. Lion: "24°C, 25°C, 26°C. Air conditioning is in energy saving mode."
    Call to action: "Please use energy-saving mode for air conditioning."

The campaign also includes a set of videos featuring human beings, as well as posters (see below).

A dear friend of Ad Nut who's an expert on the China market reports that the animal videos have proven far more popular than the human videos, which of course they have. Imagine how much more popular they could have been if the creators had seen fit to include a squirrel. Such a missed opportunity! When will people learn?

The posters and a series of digital ads include partner brands such as L'Oreal, Haier, Muji and Nespresso. 

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


Campaign Asia

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