The media has an important impact on the choices made by consumers. We make decisions according to our environment and surroundings every day whether it is intentional or not. Sometimes, the media serves as an important platform to educate people and bring important issues to their attention. The Surfrider Foundation, like many other organizations, has taken advantage of this by creating this advertisement (above). The ad states “what goes in the ocean goes in you” to show that our oceanic pollution not only affects the wildlife of the sea but also people. It also mentions an important statistic that shocks the reader in many cases, that “fishes off the west coast ingest over 12,000 tons of plastic a year.” This highlights the connection that if fish eat plastic, and we eat fish- we eat plastic. And the reason for us eating plastic in the first place is our own doing. The advertisement makes it clear that through simply reducing our insane plastic pollution production, we can improve not only the health of the environment but also the health of humans. The Surfrider Foundation also urges the viewers to take action towards plastic pollution with their assistance.
Some consumers viewing this advertisement may not care about plastic pollution because they do not see the direct impact on their personal lives due to dietary preferences where they do not eat fish so they are not the ones ingesting the plastic. However, those that are affected by the ad may feel compelled to take action and can go through many different kinds of advocacy and activism. The use of social media has helped create space for environmental advocacy and activism but sometimes can be counterproductive. The Surfrider Foundation uses many platforms to spread messages but this specific advertisement only includes a website. A common issue with social media and online platforms is that they do a great job of spreading the message instantly and quickly to a large audience of diverse backgrounds, but they sometimes lack long-term support. Shannon Dosemagen describes this as “clicktivism” where it is hard to discern the depth of engagement of individuals when they are just clicking their way through links to support causes. This results in a crowded media where people just blindly go with the opinions and “facts” provided by other just to maintain a certain social media image.
In contrast, social media has been used to bring new perspectives to important topics and issues. Facebook has event pages, charity funding pages, and many other platforms for organizations and individuals to spread the word and gain support. Now, you can event choose to advertise a specific charity for your birthday on Facebook and your friends receive a notification asking for support. The Surfrider Foundation has used the advantages of Facebook by creating a Nonprofit page with links to other forms of contact including a link to their website as well as regular posts with environmental updates and fundraising campaigns. They post images like this advertisement which include links to facts and ways to get involved and educated.
Advertisements like the ones provided by the Surfrider Foundation are essential in spreading awareness and pushing for change in the modern world. The use of social media campaigns and pages helps create a platform for individuals to explore these organizations and issues deeper and create their own opinions and advocacy programs.
Dosemagen, S. (2016, January 28). Social Media and Saving the Environment: Clicktivism or Real Change? Retrieved March 05, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannon-dosemagen-/social-media-and-saving-t_b_9100362.html