‘Save Ugly’: The Wilderness Society launches off-kilter campaign to connect with everyday Aussies


Rosario Dawson (1).jpgThe Wilderness Society has today launched ‘Save Ugly’ – a radical new conservation campaign via Curious Film to raise awareness of all the ‘ugly’ creatures that help make life possible, warts and all.

‘Save Ugly’ is part of a major brand repositioning by The Wilderness Society, which aims to engage Australians of all ages and backgrounds. Rather than focusing on protecting the charismatic species — pandas, whales and tigers — The Wilderness Society is championing all the other vital parts of ecosystems. The bits that aren’t so beautiful.

To mark the launch, The Wilderness Society has enlisted Hollywood actress and activist, Rosario Dawson, as well as a local cast of Aussie talent — including Cate Blanchett and Joel Edgerton — to feature in a three-minute musical comedy film, alongside a range of social media content and engagement activity.

Dressed as an Ethmia Clytodoxa Moth, the film features Rosario singing her way around Australia’s lesser known, uglier animals that help keep the world’s ecosystems functioning — such as the green, mohawk-wearing Mary River Turtle which breathes through its genitals, and the Southern Right Whale whose faeces provides much-needed nutrients to the ocean’s phytoplankton. The campaign raises awareness that despite their ugliness, these quirky qualities are crucial for soil improvement, pollination, aquatic food webs and water purification.

The ‘Save Ugly’ Cast

Rosario Dawson as Ethmia Clytodoxa Moth

Cate Blanchett as Mary River Turtle

Joel Edgerton as Ghost Shark

Teresa Palmer as Southern Right Whale

Claudia O’Doherty as Phytoplankton

Erik Thomson as South-Eastern Long-Eared Bat

Samara Weaving as Ghost Bat

Sara Wiseman as Ghost Bat

Dan Wyllie as Giant Gippsland Earthworm

Says Rob Beamish, national creative and communications director, The Wilderness Society Australia: “Our research shows people do care about the environment. But their concern is latent. They don’t see the immediate threat or consider other concerns more significant. Plus, there’s an emotional bias about green groups in people’s minds that hinders our ability to engage the mainstream. These challenges have called for a fresh approach that grabs people’s attention and makes the message super sticky.

“Starting with Save Ugly, we have a deep campaign strategy to overhaul the environmental protection regime in Australia, with new laws and a new body to monitor and enforce change. This campaign is the humorous tip of a very serious spear. Save Ugly is our excuse to start conversations about humankind’s need to preserve intact ecosystems, for our own survival. Then drive the change needed to reflect this in legislation.”

Along with a talented cast, the film has been produced by Curious Film and directed by none other than New Zealand-born Zoë Bell — famously known for her role as Uma Thurman’s stunt double in Kill Bill.

Says Bell: “Everything about this project just felt good, start to finish. The guys at The Wilderness Society are amazing — taking a deeply worthy cause, and coming up with an entirely fresh concept. I feel so honoured to be a part of it.

“We had a stellar crew, and everyone — from construction, camera and costume, to producers, actors and puppeteers — were so excited to get involved and lend their support. It’s a true testament to the bold concept that is Save Ugly, and the desire of everyone to get behind such an incredible cause.”

Supporting the full visual rebrand — which includes a new website and logo design — the film will go live on the campaign landing page from today, supported by a series of short content pieces shared on The Wilderness Society’s social channels — encouraging people to show their support and donate to the cause.

Says Beamish: “We’re incredibly grateful to have received such generous support on this project. Curious Film and Electric Dreams in particular have donated so much of their time to help bring this idea to fruition. It’s been a huge investment from all parties involved, but it just goes to show what can be achieved when groups come together for something they truly believe in.”

The Wilderness Society works to support life because life supports all of us. People can get involved by making a one-off donation, supporting a campaign action,becoming a member, purchasing a Save Ugly t-shirt, or adopting an ugly animal. Find out how you can help Save Ugly at ugly.wilderness.org.au.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wilderness.society/ @wilderness.society

Twitter: @Wilderness_Aus

Instagram: Wilderness_AUS

Hashtag: #SaveUgly

The Wilderness Society

National Comms & Creative Director: Rob Beamish

Creative Group Heads: Jono Aidney & Gabe Woodmansey

Strategy: Rob Beamish


Rosario Dawson

Cate Blanchett

Joel Edgerton

Teresa Palma

Claudia O’Doherty

Erik Thomson

Samara Weaving

Sara Wiseman

Dan Wyllie

Film Production: Curious Film

Director: Zoë Bell

Executive Producer: Matt Noonan

Producer: Stephen Fitzgibbon

DOP: Christopher Blauvelt

Editor: Niles Howard

VFX / Grade: Alt.vfx

Music Production: Electric Dreams

Writer & Producer: Tommy Spender

Music Supervisor & Producer: Leyla Varela

Music Consultant: Karl RIchter, Level 2 Music

PR, Content and Social: B.B.E

Strategy Director: Adam Beaupeurt

PR & Content Director: Georgia Ness

PR & Content Manager: Kate Donnelly

Social Strategy: Edan O’Grady

Content Producer: Anne Verhoeven

Brand Identity & Design: Alter