Project Wild Thing attempts to convert one million children to the benefits of outdoor play

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A nationwide nature marketing campaign called Project Wild Thing aims to persuade one million children to play outdoors and enjoy the benefits of nature.

Ivy Bond gets close to nature in a still from the Project Wild Thing documentary

Ivy Bond gets close to nature in a still from the Project Wild Thing documentary

A nationwide nature marketing campaign has been launched by film producers Green Lions, aiming to persuade one million children to play outdoors and enjoy the benefits of nature.

The UK-wide nature campaign is big, bold and innovative – to be seen on billboards, in maternity units and on screen. Running the campaign is filmmaker David Bond, who has appointed himself Marketing Director for Nature, in an attempt to advertise the benefits of nature to the nation. In the film David Bond takes advice from nature, psychology and marketing specialists, including Simon Middleton, author of Build A Brand In 30 Days and CEO of brand consultancy firm Brand Strategy Guru.

The campaign backed by the National Trust, NHS Sustainable Development Unit, Play England, Play Wales, Playboard NI, Arla, Good For Nothing and Britdoc.

David Bond said: “According to UNICEF we are raising the unhappiest kids in the developed world. Fewer than 10% of children play in wild places, compared with 50% a generation ago, kids roam far less and half of kids have been stopped from climbing trees, and 20% from playing conkers or tag.

“The lure of the indoors – with TV, the internet and computer games – is creating a generation that has no connection with the natural world. My kids are 3 and 5 and they scream if I switch off the TV. I’m now fighting to get my kids back before it’s too late. I’ve spoken to teenagers across the UK many of whom say, ‘Why would I want to go outside – staying indoors is much more fun’. I don’t want to hear that from my children."

As well as a traditional advertising campaign, PROJECT WILD THING will deliver:

OUT AND ABOUT baby packs for new parents (example attached). After giving birth and alongside the ubiquitous Bounty Pack, mothers will receive a pack to help them think about how they can spend time outside with their baby. Run as a trial study across three major hospitals, this pack will aim to tackle the problem at the source by encouraging parents to help their kids be outdoors right from the start.

The WILDTIME app, available from projectwildthing.com, is a technological toy that delivers information about where the best fun is really to be found. WILDTIME is designed to help parents and kids who are looking for fun in the outdoors, but are not sure where to find it.

A WILD PLEDGE for people to sign that affirms commitment to the natural world by pledging to match screen time with outdoor time. By gathering signatures, Bond is attempting to lobby government for more natural learning and playtime in schools.

According to David Bond, “I’m blown away by the number of people wanting to join the campaign. Big brands like Apple, Shell and BP all use symbols of nature to advertise their products for a profit. I am advertising nature because it’s good for you and it’s free. My crusade is one small step towards encouraging people to spend less time watching screens, and more time outside.”

The Project Wild Thing campaign challenges parents and children in towns, cities and the countryside across the UK to leave behind the cosy indoors and get outside into the wild. With the help of advertising and marketing experts, Bond’s goal is to persuade one million children of the benefits of Nature – an amazing, free, wonder-product – in just two weeks.

“Spending time outdoors is fun, it's good for you and it's free. Given the opportunity, kids love being outdoors. They just need to be given the opportunity. If we don't act now, a generation of children will miss out on developing a fundamental connection with nature. Without future custodians of the natural world, who will look after our planet 50 years from now?”

Bond’s marketing campaign is being filmed for a documentary. The British feature-length documentary PROJECT WILD THING, is being produced by film producers Green Lions, in conjunction with the BRITDOC Foundation (britdoc.org). It is due to be released nationwide in cinemas in Summer 2013. A major campaign to encourage children to spend more time in nature will accompany the film’s release.

Company Information:

David Bond is available for interview. Stills and video footage from the campaign are also available.

For further information contact:
Ashley Jones, Producer, Project Wild Thing
ashley (at) greenlions (dot) com / 07881 828 928 / projectwildthing.com
UK

Simon Middleton is a brand consultant and author whose book 'Build A Brand In 30 Days' advises businesses and organisations how to establish brand stories quickly and effectively.

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