Emotive and Google AI partner to restore Tasmania’s giant kelp forests

Emotive and Google AI partner to restore Tasmania's giant kelp forests

Hayes: “Our hope is that this groundbreaking work will have an impact not just here in Australia, but globally.”

In an effort to address the dwindling giant kelp forests in Tasmania, a new campaign by creative agency Emotive sheds light on the work between Google AI and a trove of local partners: CSIRO, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, The Nature Conservancy, Great Southern Reef Foundation, Kelp Forest Alliance, and NGIS.

This latest drive for Google AI aims to raise awareness about the critical state of Tasmania’s giant kelp forests, of which only 5% remain, while showcasing the innovative use of Google AI technology in conservation efforts.

Using Google AI speeds up the analysis of large datasets required to decode the DNA of heat-resistant kelp, and helps map the remaining forests to aid restoration efforts.

Zoe Hayes, head of brand, social and YouTube marketing AUNZ at Google, said the collaboration between the involved parties for the Tasmanian giant kelp forest conservation efforts is part of Google Australia’s Digital Future Initiative: a $1 billion investment in Australian research, infrastructure and partnerships.

“A huge focus of the initiative is fostering Australian made technology and talent to address some of the world’s most pressing problems,” said Hayes.

“Our hope is that this groundbreaking work will have an impact not just here in Australia, but globally.”

The campaign, The Invisible Forest, hopes to bring attention to a complex and largely imperceptible issue by using a two-pronged approach.

The first involves engaging content in collaboration with animator and TikTok sensation Sam Cotton, known for his cheeky, animated take on Australian wildlife.

I love our country and its wildlife, yeah even those chippy stealing seagulls, so when Google invited me to help shine a light on the story of the disappearing giant kelp habitats, and how they’re helping restore them, I was thrilled to be involved,” Cotton said.

Paul Sharp, creative director at Emotive, described the importance of engaging Cotton as part of making the intricate science behind the project accessible and palatable for broader audiences.

“Google’s AI-driven giant kelp restoration collaboration is as big and complicated as those words together sound,” said Sharp.

“It’s a super-important and very involved project that we needed to simplify in order to share with broader non-science audiences, and Sam’s (Cotton) popular bitesize takes on wildlife create a perfect portal to get people intrigued.”

The second aspect of the campaign is a micro-documentary featuring experts from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, CSIRO, and Google Research Australia, explaining the role of Google AI in mapping and monitoring Australia’s giant kelp forests.

The doco, which has been released as part of a national campaign rollout across YouTube, LinkedIn, and TikTok, elaborates on how Google AI will help make the first map of Australia’s giant kelp forests and analyse heat-resistant kelp to help restore them.

The cast includes Professor Craig Johnson (Professor of Marine Ecology, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies), Dr. Anusuya Willis (Director of the Australian National Algae Culture Collection, CSIRO) and Grace Chung (Head of Google Research Australia).

Earlier this week, Google launched its first native TikTok campaign in Australia via Emotive, aiming to engage TikTok’s Gen Z users with its search app.

The Invisible Forest also follows the Coogee-based independent last month spearheading the strategy and creative direction for a separate initiative aimed at combating the imminent threat of deep seabed mining. The global impact campaign was led by Laura Clarke, co-founder of the Palau Pledge.

See also:
Google makes creator play for Gen Z TikTok lovers via Emotive
Emotive asks industry to donate $5m in media to combat deep seabed mining threat

Client: Google ANZ 
Creative: Emotive and Sam Cotton 
Research and Insights: Pollinate 
Production: Mint 

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