Innocean Australia and AMCS turn endangered shark study into media activation

Innocean Australia has turned an endangered shark study into media activation for the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), to highlight ‘what’s under the batter, matters’.


The announcement:

Innocean Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) have launched a media activation to highlight a recent study that found Aussies were unknowingly eating endangered shark in their takeaway ‘fish and chips’.

Together with an army of marine biologists and acclaimed chef, Ben Shewry, the activation on Bondi Beach put endangered shark on the menu to lure Aussies into helping with shark and stingray conservation – all under the banner of ‘What’s under the batter matters’.

A DNA study by Macquarie University took samples from fish and chip shops around the country and found endangered shark species including school sharks, scalloped hammerheads and the endemic greeneye spurdog were being served as ‘flake’.

In 2020, a national survey by Essential Media found that one in three Australians do not even know flake is shark, let alone endangered shark.

To bring this study to life and to capture national attention, an unsuspecting Fish ‘n Chip truck was constructed and positioned in front of the Bondi Life Saving Club. Hungry beachgoers could then choose from a menu of delicious sounding options of endangered shark species, all found within the DNA study. Pretending to serve endangered shark highlighted the lack of awareness and mislabelling of flake. While mislabelling is not allowed for livestock, the same does not currently apply to the fish industry.

Instead of serving endangered shark, an environmentally sustainable seafood option from the Australian Marine Conservation’s GoodFish Guide (Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide) was served, giving people information on green listed sustainable alternatives that they could choose by using the guide.

AMCS branded DNA kits were also handed out to any sceptics, who could send a sample of flake from their local chippie to be tested as part of the wider study by Macquarie University.

The media activation attracted national news coverage on Channel 9 and Sky News. The campaign is also supported by a soon-to-be released AMCS documentary by AMCS Shark Scientist, Dr Leonardo Guida.

Dr Guida said: “The outcomes of scientific studies can be bleak and delivered in a format that’s easy for people to ignore. The results from the DNA shark study provided the perfect opportunity to use creativity to serve up the message in a form people would care about – and what better way than using the iconic Aussie meal of fish and chips to engage people in ocean conservation.”

Innocean executive creative director, Wez Hawes, said: “When we heard about the facts of the study, we knew it would be a challenge for people to take notice if we didn’t do something to shock them. Every element of the activation was crafted to lure beachgoers – and the media – in. From the subtle shark logo to the carefully balanced writing of the menu board. Even the wrapping paper the food was served in contained hidden messages and alternative sustainable suggestions to ‘flake’.”


Agency: Innocean

ECD: Wez Hawes

Creative Director: Effie Kacopieros

Copywriters : Charlotte Berry, Laura Parker

Designer: Michael Macgregor

Client Partner: Carolyn Cho

Senior Account Director: Sarah Gardan

Account Manager: Alex Hopkins

Senior Integrated Producer: Warrick Nicholson

Integrated Producer: Brittany Mirabitur

Videographer & Editor: Dave Anlezark

Client: Australian Marine Conservation Society

Senior Shark Campaigner: Dr Leonardo Guida

Communications Director: Imogen Scott

GoodFish Program Manager: Stephanie McGee


Celebrity Chef/Owner Attica Restaurant: Ben Shewry

Caterers: Radish Events

Sustainable Seafood suppliers: Two Hands

Source: Third Avenue


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.