Responses by John Larigakis, creative director, One Twenty Three West
Background: Only 3,000 hectares of old-growth forest is protected in British Columbia, leaving the other 99 percent in threat of being logged. And because black bears rely on ancient tree structures for hibernation and denning, they’re also being threatened, mostly to make cheap furniture. Working with Living Forest Institute and The Only Animal, the “Logging More Than Trees” ads showed British Columbians what they’re buying when they buy old-growth products and what they can do to help: Sign the petition and help protect British Columbia’s endangered old-growth forests and ensure a sustainable, second-growth forest industry.
Reasoning: With so much clutter in the market, especially today, it can be hard for one cause or issue to stand out enough to be seen and heard. We wanted to create something that was equally beautiful and thought-provoking so that no one passing by would be able to ignore it. Our solution also had to be simple enough for someone to understand quickly.
Challenges: So much great work has been done in the wildlife non-profit space that the bar was very high. A lot of creative ground has already been covered. Our real challenge was to find a fresh way to talk about deforestation and wildlife protection that was bold, relevant and something no one has seen before.
Favorite details: Getting the bears to look real, and to look like iconic wooden furniture was an ambitious task. We wanted to make sure every detail matched, and that they were readable from a distance. After many rounds of revisions, we finally got the perspective and angles to look correct. Then, we had our visuals pass our distance test, which was a rewarding moment.
Specific demands: We didn’t only need the images to stand out; we needed them to make people care about a subject that has so many different levels. It’s not just about anti-logging; it’s about anti-old-growth logging. It’s also about showing people the real impact on black bears, and making people understand that it’s all connected.
Anything new: Because everything was shot practically and without CGI, with help from Bill Hawley, we learned a lot about lighting different textures to look as realistic as possible, and matching perspective from many different plate shots. We wrapped faux fur around actual wooden furniture, and then lit the fur in a studio to have the right amount of detail we needed. Then in retouching, with help from Kathleen Loski, we blended it seamlessly with our shots of taxidermy bears. Aside from the creative learnings, we learned a lot about black bears and our old-growth forests. Learning that 99 percent is still unprotected was an eye-opening stat for us.