Corporate Eye

WWF and the Greenest Leaflet Campaign in the World

How does a nonprofit organization that works to save animals and nature distribute printed materials to spread the word and ask for donations? Wouldn’t printing all of those materials be a waste of paper and hurtful to the environment?

WWF found a creative way to get around that problem with an ambient media campaign that included the following items:

  • A single copy of a one-page, one-sided leaflet printed on a desktop printer
  • 2 people dressed as pandas
  • A mall with customers
  • An escalator

With just one copy of a one-page WWF leaflet, two people dressed as pandas visited a mall in a campaign called “Pandas in the Mall.” One panda-clad person stood at the bottom of the busy mall escalator and the other stood at the top of the same escalator. The panda at the bottom handed the leaflet to a person stepping onto the escalator to make the ascent to the next floor. When that person reached the top of the escalator, the panda at the top took the leaflet from him. Next, the panda at the top of the escalator handed the leaflet to a different person as she got on the escalator going down. When she reached the bottom, the panda at the bottom of the escalator took the leaflet back. This pattern continued and that single leaflet was seen and read by many people.

However, it’s what happened next in this campaign that made it such a big success. Word spread about the Pandas in a Mall campaign and a video uploaded to YouTube quickly went viral. WWF estimates that within two weeks, WWF had reached nearly 300,000 people through the campaign. Check out the video below to see how it happened.

I love this campaign. It’s simple, clever, and managed to integrate an online and offline component. Whether that integration was originally planned or not isn’t known, but it happened. In 14 days, WWF’s message reached hundreds of thousands of people all for the cost of 1 printed piece of paper and 2 people dressed as panda bears. Kudos to WWF and the creative team at Akcio360 in Hungary who developed the campaign.

What do you think of this kind of ambient media campaign? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.