The Trash Isles – Identity \ 2018 Cannes Picks

In a sea of causes and problems, it’s tough to make one issue stand out? And when that issue is a literal island of garbage, your audience would all rather turn their noses.

When Plastic Oceans teamed up with influential social media entertainment company LAD Bible, they took a novel approach, applying design solutions to the problem – giving it a name and a face, and making it harder to ignore.

They created ‘The Trash Isles’ — complete with a flag, passports, stamps and even a form of currency! With a punchy launch video outlining the new country’s aims, they targeted the UN, in hopes of being globally recognised as a nation – forcing UN members to finally address the floating pile of pollution. They even scored a few A-list celebrities and 220,000+ Trash Isles citizens along the way…

You can read the specifics of their Cannes awards submission below:

Stay tuned for our full 2018 Cannes Lions Review (coming Friday)…


In the North Pacific there is so much plastic an area of trash the size of France has formed. Governments have simply ignored it. So we found a way to ensure they couldn’t. By turning the country sized trash patch into an official country. On World Oceans Day, The Plastic Oceans Foundation and LadBible submitted an application to The United Nations to recognise The Trash Isles as an official country. Because if it is recognised as an official country, then other countries are obliged to help clean it up. We created an identity for the country and asked the public to support it by becoming citizens.


Having handed in our application to the Secretary General of The United Nations we then created a whole range of content to recruit citizens and raise awareness of the problem – all hosted on The Trash Isles Hub on the homepage of LADBible,

We had videos solely dedicated to educating people about the problem, experts in the area shared their stories through articles and interviews, we had celebrities pledging their support and speaking up on social media sites. Posters and web banners asked people to become citizens. All the countries assets, the money, the passports, the flag and the stamps, were sent to journalists to build intrigue. And partnering with we sent out targeted emails to get people to sign our petition to back the application.

The campaign recruited citizens and raised awareness of the problem not only through LADBible’s extensive network but through millions of earned media impressions.


Over 220,000 people signed the petition and became citizens.

We had 690,000 likes, shares and comments.

In total The Trash Isles campaign had over 50 million video views.

Utilising LADBible’s global network and through earned media we reached half a billion people with the campaign.

Fox News, CNN, National Geographic, Europe 1, IBT, Daily Mail, Reuters were just some of the major networks / papers that covered the campaign.

Big names celebrities in the category got on-board the campaign including Ale Gore and Sir David Attenborough.

All this led to a comment from the UN about the campaign and drove the issue to the front of the political agenda.

Flag (1).jpgCurrency+02.jpg

Stamps (1).jpgPassport+01 (1).jpg

Passport+03_2 (1).jpg

Joel Cogger, Senior Associate Creative
By Joel Cogger

Posted June 25, 2018

Joel is Creative Director at Neonormal. He loves crafting moments of connection that make audiences feel something, almost as much as he loves obscure coffee processes and merino wool. He also sings far too loudly.