Emotive Enlists Google AI To Save Tassie Kelp Forests

Emotive Enlists Google AI To Save Tassie Kelp Forests

The campaign by Emotive reveals the work being done with Google AI in collaboration with CSIRO, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, The Nature Conservancy, Great Southern Reef Foundation, Kelp Forest Alliance and NGIS to help save Tassie’s giant kelp forests.

Most people aren’t aware of the existence of the Great Southern Reef straddling 5 Australian states, or the role that giant kelp – which grows in underwater forests reaching up to forty metres – plays in supporting that ecosystem. Let alone that only 5 per cent of Tasmania’s giant kelp forests remain.

The campaign aims to change that and tell the story of how Google and its esteemed local partners are working together to study the remaining giant kelp to regrow and restore the forest. Using Google AI helps speed up the enormous data analytics required to decode the DNA of the surviving heat-resilient kelp and map the remaining forests for the first time to support restoration efforts.

Zoe Hayes, head of brand, social and YouTube marketing AUNZ at Google: “The collaboration between Google, CSIRO, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and The Nature Conservancy is part of Google Australia’s Digital Future Initiative — a $1B investment in Australian research, infrastructure & partnerships. A huge focus of the initiative is fostering Australian-made technology and talent to address some of the world’s most pressing problems. Our hope is that this groundbreaking work will have an impact not just here in Australia, but globally.”

The challenge for the campaign was to draw attention to this hugely complex and largely invisible issue in an evocative way, to reveal the work being done to tackle it. The idea of The Invisible Forest does just that, illuminating a critical underwater ecosystem in need of urgent help.

The campaign works by making The Invisible Forest visible to Australians and comprises two parts. The first is highly digestible content in the form of a playful partnership with animator and TikTok star Sam Cotton. The second being a more detailed micro-documentary.

Cotton is famous for his cheeky animated observations on life. With 3 million followers around the world, his work often features Australian fauna, making him the perfect person to give voice to the inhabitants of our invisible giant kelp forests.

The creative partnership with Sam Cotton introduces the public to the project’s complex science in an entertaining way on YouTube and social media, priming them to learn more via the campaign’s second pillar, the micro-documentary featuring Prof. Craig Johnson (Professor of Marine Ecology, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies), Dr. Anusuya Willis (director of the Australian National Algae Culture Collection, CSIRO) and Grace Chung (head of Google Research Australia).

Sam Cotton, animator, said: “I love our country and its wildlife, yeah even those chippy stealing seagulls, so when Google invited me to help shine a light on the story of the disappearing giant kelp habitats, and how they’re helping restore them, I was thrilled to be involved.”

Paul Sharp, creative director, Emotive said: “Google’s AI-driven giant kelp restoration collaboration is as big and complicated as those words together sound. It’s a super-important and very involved project that we needed to simplify in order to share with broader non-science audiences, and Sam’s (Cotton) popular bitesize takes on wildlife create a perfect portal to get people intrigued.”

 The micro-documentary explains how Google AI will help create the first-ever map of Australia’s giant kelp forests and support faster, more reliable monitoring over time. It will also help analyse the five per cent of heat-resistant kelp that has survived to help local scientists regrow and restore it.

 The campaign is rolling out nationally across YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok and IG from Tuesday 9 April.


Client: Google ANZ

Creative: Emotive & Sam Cotton

Research & Insights: Pollinate

Production: Mint

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