How to get 3.9 million people to fight for your cause

When it comes to environmental protection, Jody Xiong thinks big and beautiful.

You do not have to chain yourself to a tree to fight for environmental protection. There are all kinds of ways to communicate to the public that the choices we make matter.

Tossing the takeout containers in the trash instead of the recycling matters. Washing your clothes in cold instead of hot water matters. Donating your air-conditioning to elderly folks who need it matters. Walking instead of driving matters. Okay, you get the point.

Well Jody Xiong of DDB China in collaboration with the China Environmental Protection Foundation found a way to talk about environmental protection in a way that does not make your eyes gloss over.

Instead of wagging a finger, Xiong laid out enormous white canvases with a bare tree across 132 crosswalks in 15 Chinese cities and let the pedestrians crossing tell the story.

As people walked across the intersections, the bare trees came to life.

It is hard to say whether the outdoor campaign - a visual reminder of the environmental benefits of walking versus driving - worked explicitly. But having an estimated 3,920,000 people participate in a visually striking, web-friendly campaign is impressive. Very impressive.

Have ideas for participatory campaigns in your neighbourhood?

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