ECOROMERIA by Comunicacion Corporativa Ketchum for EARTH UNIVERSITY

ECOROMERIA

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Industry Colleges, Universities & Education Centers
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Costa Rica
Agency Comunicacion Corporativa Ketchum
Designer Andrés Vega
Released August 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Environmental PR
Advertiser: EARTH UNIVERSITY
Product/Service: EDUCATION
Agency: COMUNICACIÓN CORPORATIVA KETCHUM
President: Carmen Mayela Fallas (Comunicación Corporativa Ketchum)
Account Director: Marcela Alfaro (Comunicación Corporativa Ketchum)
Creative Director/Creative: David Fallas (Comunicación Corporativa Ketchum)
Account Executive: Cinthya Castillo (Comunicación Corporativa Ketchum)
Account Executive: Olman López (Comunicación Corporativa Ketchum)
Designer: Andrés Vega (Comunicación Corporativa Ketchum)
Media placement: Building Alliances - Government, Catholic Church, Universities And NGOs - April 1st - August 2nd
Media placement: Fundraising - Private Companies - May 1st - August 2nd
Media placement: Awareness Campaign - Cable And National TV, Radio, Internet And Press Media - July 18 - August 5th
Media placement: Press Conference/ Media Relations - TV, Radio, Internet And Press Media - July 18- August 5th
Media placement: Social Media - Web Page, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, - July 18- August 15
Media placement: Volunteer Network - On Site. Pilgrimage - July 18- August 2nd
Media placement: Recycling Practice Exhibition Center - On Site. Pilgrimage - August 2nd

Summary of the Campaign
We taught a country how to recycle in a single day.

EARTH University is located in Costa Rica; a country that has a vocation for ecology, but unfortunately has a big problem: garbage. EARTH University, a well known leading institution in environmental waste management, wanted to teach Costa Rica how to recycle.

We found a unique opportunity to do it: The Romería, an event that is held every August 2nd, where more than 2m people (almost half of the population) walk from all over the country to Virgin de los Angeles Basilica to 'pay' Virgin de Los Angeles, for those promises made in exchange for a miracle.

Our great idea was using the largest multitudinous event in the country to educate Costa Ricans regarding waste management. We decided to turn the Romería into the EcoRomería. In addition to their personal promise, pilgrims would embrace a shared promise: recycling.

We joined the four main forces that bring the country together: the Government, Universities, NGOs, the Church, and private companies.

We included an educational campaign, the support from mass media, a network of volunteers, and we installed classifying containers every 300 metres for all pilgrims to be able to recycle.
With a cost of $0 for EARTH University, we generated $300,000 in publicity and a message that reached 76% of the population.

Waste was reduced in 96% compared to last year, and EARTH strengthened its positioning as one of the most admired organisations in Costa Rica.

The Situation
EARTH University is a private non-profit international institution founded in Costa Rica in 1986. It is well known as a leader in responsible waste management. This university trains professionals in agronomy focused on sustainable development, leadership, environmental awareness, and commitment with social well-being.

Despite the fact that Costa Rica is world-renowned as an ecological country oriented to protecting the environment, the population has not been duly taught in regards to correct waste management. Therefore, the country’s image has been highly affected by contamination. Currently, 4,500 tons of solid waste are daily generated.

The Goal
• Teach the Costa Rican population to responsibly manage waste by classifying, recycling, and correctly disposing waste;
• Reduce to 50% the number of kilograms of waste generated by the Romería, the largest multitudinous event in the country;
• Make it possible to have Costa Ricans increase their admiration for EARTH University;
• Reinforce the positioning of EARTH University as a leader in waste management;
• Increase media coverage for EARTH University.

The Strategy
EARTH University wanted to teach Costa Rica how to recycle, and we find a unique opportunity: every August 2nd, more than 2m people (almost half of the population) walk from all over the country to Virgin de los Angeles Basilica.

Pilgrims walk for miles to 'pay' Virgin de los Angeles for those promises made in exchange of a miracle. However, up to that moment, they were indebted to the country. Our greatest act of faith was also our greatest act of contamination.

Our great idea was using the largest multitudinous event in the country to educate Costa Ricans regarding an adequate waste management, and we turned the Romeria into the EcoRomería.

Besides their personal promise, pilgrims would embrace a shared promise: correctly dispose waste by classifying plastic, aluminum, glass, and organic waste. We wanted a new miracle.

Execution
We turned into a shared project. We joined the 4 main forces that bring the country together:
- Government: Laura Chinchilla, President of the Republic, the Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Technology, Regulatory Commission on Massive Events, the Ministry of Health, Highway Patrols, Police Force, and Local Governments;
- Universities and NGOs: To help teach the population how to recycle;
- Catholic Church: It is the most significant event for Catholic Church, its support was vital;
- Private companies: Fundraising to finance the campaign.

• We made the country talk about recycling by launching an awareness campaign;
• On the Romería day, pilgrims could find classifying containers every 300 metres, as well as an 'army' of volunteers willing to teach them how to classify waste;
• A Recycling Practice Exhibition Center was installed at the Tres Ríos Park, which has become a 'mandatory' stop for pilgrims to rest in the middle of the journey.

Documented Results
• More than 2,000 volunteers teaching Costar Rica how to recycle;
• $300,000 in publicity;
• The message reached 3.4m people – in a country with 4.5 million inhabitants - this is 76% of the population;
• 76,000 kilograms of waste in 2010 significantly dropped to 2,500 kilograms in 2011, which represents a waste reduction of more than 96%;
• Pilgrims learned how to efficiently classify 82% of waste;
• $0 investment from the client;
• EARTH strengthened its positioning as one of the most admired organisations in Costa Rica.