The Seahorse that Launched 1,000 Campaigns

In September 2017, photographer Justin Hofman revealed an image that sent shockwaves around the world and seemed to almost uniquely capture our collective imagination. A tiny seahorse clings on to a plastic cotton bud as it drifts through the waters surrounding Indonesia. The striking contrast between the purity and beauty of the seahorse and the disposability of the cotton bud clearly communicated the existential threat posed to the natural environment by our unthinking everyday actions and further opened the eyes of the world to the need for change.

The past year has seen an encouraging increase in public awareness around environmental threats, most notably an upwelling of concern about the catastrophic impact of marine plastic pollution. Images such as Hofman’s, not to mention the phenomenal global success of Blue Planet II, have been critical in generating this awareness. The public, governments and major corporations alike have been quick to respond in seeking ways to protect and enhance our natural environment.

In the past week alone, we have seen Iceland committing to end palm oil use in their own brand products, Waitrose removing disposable coffee cups in store, Apple moving to 100% renewable energy, the world’s largest wind turbines installed and the UK Government introducing a ban on live exports of animals. While recent commitments from these corporations and governments should certainly be commended, there are still frustrations felt from the lack of ambition and action. A notable example this week, when the UK Government revealed that cuts to their scheme to insulate Britain’s draughtiest homes mean it would take 400 years to complete. Clearly, this is not a sustainable solution nor the most effective way for the UK to meet its Paris Agreement commitments.

The photographer Justin Hofman wrote about his now world-famous seahorse saying, ‘It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it.’ This quote resonates not just with marine life but with many aspects of the natural environment and the need for clear, impactful communications to mobilise the public and decision-makers.

That is why we are today launching Seahorse Environmental Communications, a new specialist consultancy which will design and execute political campaigns and communications programmes that enhance both the natural environment and the commercial success of our clients.

The environmental impact of any organisations’ activities is now of major and growing importance to consumers, governments, shareholders and NGOs. As a result, every organisation needs to plan and manage their environmental impact and strategically communicate this to all stakeholders. This demands specialist advice from people who understand the environmental community matched with top level communications skills and first-hand experience of how governments, parliaments, civil servants, shareholders and consumers operate, think and behave. This is the market in which Seahorse Environmental Communications will operate.

At Seahorse, we’re driven by our passion for enhancing the natural environment and tackling climate change. We provide expert policy advice, impactful communications programmes and winning campaigns for clients who share our vision for a cleaner, greener, more sustainable tomorrow.

If you have an issue you would like to discuss with us do please get in touch at