National Social Marketing Centre

Save the Crabs – Then Eat ‘Em

Last updated: 2 February 2012

Key facts

Target audience
March 2004 to September 2005; January to September 2006
Chesapeake Bay Program; Academy for Educational Development
US$855,554 from the Chesapeake Bay Program

Contact details

Chesapeake Club
John Strand


The Academy for Educational Development, a non-profit organisation specialising in social change communications, implemented a campaign to reduce nutrient pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay from residential sources in the greater Washington D.C. area.

Funded by the Chesapeake Bay Program, the primary campaign goal was to convince area residents not to fertilise their lawns in the spring, when fertiliser runoff to the Bay is most likely,  but to do so in the fall, if at all. For the 16 per cent of residents who hire a lawn service, the goal was to convince them to hire a Bay-friendly partner lawn service.

To overcome message fatigue from previous Bay-oriented campaigns and motivate this urban audience with a meaningful connection to the Bay, the campaign message was framed not as an environmental appeal, but as a way to ensure the continued availability of Chesapeake Bay seafood. Television, newspaper and out-of home ads ran for a seven-week period during March and April 2005. A second campaign wave ran during the same month in 2006.

In spite of a small budget and short campaign run, a post-intervention survey showed increased awareness of lawn care behaviours that contribute to Bay pollution and decreased intent to fertilise in the spring.


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