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    Focus on Fish Health

    Fishing and boating are popular around the Great Lakes but few enthusiasts knew that a non-native virus threatened to kill nearly 20 species of wild fish. To halt the spread, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) engaged Diversity to generate awareness and educate enthusiasts about how to avoid transferring the virus through infected bait and contaminated equipment.

    Our integrated campaign centered on the experiential aspects of outdoor activities and made an emotional appeal to preserve aquatic wildlife for future generations.  An online photo contest and social media drove traffic to the official APHIS website.  Out-of-home and print ads, collateral materials, and strong earned media reinforced key messages.  Partnerships with U.S. Fish & Wildlife, state agencies, and professional organizations extended the campaign’s reach through grassroots distribution of materials.  Businesses such as Bass Pro Shops, Trout Unlimited, and Wellcraft were engaged to reach enthusiasts at the point of purchase.

    The campaign exceeded expectations for impressions, collateral distribution, and online engagement.  We’re particularly proud that the virus is no longer a threat and the federal order banning transfer of susceptible species has been lifted.

    Diversity created the award-winning “Help Save Our Waters” animated video featuring Walleye and the Fish Band to communicate the risks of the invasive virus and educate all generations of enthusiasts about best practices to limit the spread.  The 2:30-minute animated video aired in movie theaters in the region and on the APHIS YouTube channel.