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Eat Your Problems - Lionfish

What made this spot so good? Geometry "Terribly Delicious" - 2:40 This is the twelfth in a series of articles where I deconstruct examples of excellent storytelling in contemporary advertising.

With teams in 56 markets, Geometry Global is the world’s largest marketing agency. Judge for yourself but their claim to “change peoples behavior” rather than just advertise a product, is undeniable in this case study for the people of Colombia.

The creative team at Geometry set out to solve the Caribbean Lionfish invasion. This beautiful but deadly fish was killing the coral reef ecosystem. Since the fish has no natural predators in these waters, it was also ruining business for local fisherman.

Even though the story is true, the spots they produced were a mixture of the sci-fi thriller variety and humor/documentary.

The challenges for this ambitious campaign were piled high. Not only did they need to create awareness, educate, entice, entertain and appeal they had to instruct the local divers on how to trap Lionfish.

The pain point: Help save the environment and the economy in more than 30 countries.

The solution: Create a supply chain from scratch by making Lionfish part of Colombian’s daily diet.

Let’s see if this spot supports my premise that all good stories must have:

Goal / Action / Complication / Resolution

This true event had all the elements of a good fictional story. The spot immediately starts with the complication. In 1992 a hurricane caused an aquarium to burst that triggered the creature to get loose and invade the Caribbean. The local woman in the interview segment is genuinely pissed off, “The Colombian President considers it a threat to national security.”

Obviously, the goal is to put an end to this menace, but how?

We cut to the solution. Eat it. Which is an interesting shift in tone. A happy go lucky chef in a kitchen holding a hot plate of Lionfish fillets says, “It’s delicious!” We’re talking top chefs at famous hotels here, not your corner 7-11sushi. They show mouth-watering ceviche, sashimi, and other gourmet recipes.

The action is a blend of people hunting, killing, cutting, preparing and eating the fish. Underwater footage of the alien looking predator juxtaposed with people dining at restaurants is what makes the message hard to forget.

The resolution of this spot is how the initiative is not just a plan to solve the problem, but the impressive results thus far. Further resolution is in the scenes where the community embraces the crusade through interviews with Catholic priests and how they are encouraging their congregations to eat this fish during Lent.

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