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The Paw Protectors – environmental advocacy in Leith


Two key reasons for charities and social enterprises to commission us to make a film are fundraising and advocacy. Both relate to the mission, where the former raises funds to pursue it, the latter is often one key strategy for achieving it. Advocacy is simply put, making the case for someone or something which would otherwise be underrepresented or unrepresented entirely. This may be for people living in poverty, people suffering from rare diseases or, as in this case, animals.

The Paw Protectors – grassroots environmental advocacy in Leith

Now, let’s be clear here; we didn’t make a film here. However we were so impressed with the campaigning of the anonymous group of environmental activists known as The Paw Protectors.

We used to live on The Shore in Leith and it is a cracking spot, but we often saw litter floating down the river to collect in mass floats, around which many swans, ducks, cormorants and the occasional moorhen and coot feed.  The level of open defecation by dogs which was left to lie by owners was also terrible. So a few weeks ago, as we were walking to the fabulous Leith Market, we saw a dumped bag of rubbish lying on the ground, above which a series of signs had been taped to the wall.

the Paw Protectors - environmental advocacy on The Shore, Leith, Edinburgh

Now, I have no idea who the kids who make the streets safe for our animals are, but I love the Just William-esque “Outlaws” notion of the whole thing. More than that, they are making an important point and many lessons can be learned from their campaign which other advocacy groups could utilise;

  1. A clear and memorable group/brand name – #pawprotectors anyone? – which neatly sums up their mission.
  2. Concise messages which deliver their points clearly;
    • “Don’t kill animals from the sea”
    • “Warning. No littering. It can kill
    • “Warning. No littering. It is killing the environment and animals are endangered.”
    • “Don’t leave nasty litter on the ground, instead put it in the bin please.”

      Not to mention a little bit of a health awareness public service announcement

    • “Smoking is bad.”

      And finally a reminder of who is leading the campaign;

    • “We’re The Paw Protectors”
  3. Eye catching design, in a prominent position.

If you are in any doubt about how effective this simple form of campaigning can be, just consider that you are now reading a blog post about it. If these posters were content marketing they tick many of the motivations to share buttons. Certainly most people would walk past the litter and may turn their nose up at it/turn a blind eye to it, but by taking a stand with their splendid campaign, the kids who make up the Paw Protectors are doing a very good job of drawing attention to a community issue.

So we’ll finish by saying; thank you Paw Protectors.

If you’d like help ensuring your advocacy campaign maximises its impact through the increasingly powerful and far reaching method of film, get in touch with us today.

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