Using irony to raise awareness about drought among the general public

Social • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

How did we work through the challenge?

Using humor and irony to avoid triggering “climate doom” or “eco-anxiety”, we worked with UNCCD to create a fictionalized country called Droughtland whose citizens experience life with drought. The campaign launched during COP15 through a series of graphic and audiovisual (English and Spanish) assets, as well as a website that simulates a real tourism page of the country, while educating audiences of the impacts of drought in a lighthearted way. We also worked with an artist to develop a Droughtland mural and audiovisual piece to engage COP 15 attendees.

Later, UNCCD revealed that Droughtland was a way to call the world’s attention to ensure no lands or countries become Droughtland. At this point the narrative shifted to #NoDroughtland, and a second set of videos in which Droughtland citizens offer advice on how not to become like Droughtland were released.

The campaign was also featured as part of Desertification and Drought Day, hosted by Spain in 2022, in which we produced offline, experiential activations that brought audiences closer to experiencing Droughtland,

  1. A “Dry Delights” culinary experience with a low hydraulic footprint in collaboration with the Basque Culinary Center to offer dry land foods to educate people about how drought affects food systems.
  2. A “Droughtland” tourism center in which the tour guides would provide key info about the campaign, as well as serve as a hub to engage influencers and media.
  3. For online content and engagements, we produced a series of animated videos of “postcards from droughtland” in which the different citizens of Droughtland wrote stories about how things are improving there because of drought mitigation action.

We also created a series of Instagram Droughtland visa filters so users could take their picture with them online and help disseminate the campaign. The visa filter was also used during the UN General assembly in NYC in 2022.

What were the outcomes?

  1. The campaign amassed 55M impressions on social media channels.
  2. The Droughtland website experienced a significant traffic boost just prior to DDD 2022. This traffic boost led to over 2M event triggers on the website.
  3. Over the 3 days of activation, a total of 1,164 people passed by the booth and were informed about the campaign, the majority being from Spain, USA, UK, France, Argentina and Italy.
  4. As part of the political gains, the efforts done for DDD contributed to the approval of a Desertification Strategy Plan in Spain.