Think Before You Buy

Would you purchase beachfront property without the beach? Better yet, would you buy a beachfront home if you had to sacrifice the beach to make room for your home?

Highly unlikely -- and that's exactly the response the Akatu Institute for Conscious Consumption expected.

The nongovernmental organization, which educates residents of Brazil about sustainability and consumer-purchasing behavior, launched a campaign to encourage them to consider the environmental impact of purchases.

(Perhaps it should direct its campaign to Congress, which has a freakish tendency to build nonsensical properties, like the Alaskan bridge to nowhere.)

Lew'LaraTBWA created the wild campaign across multiple ad mediums. It offered potential buyers beachfront property on a San Paulo beach. That warm sand where you'd usually be lounging, flaunting your good fortune to jealous friends? It's now your basement. That coveted beach view? History. Like clean air and affordable health care, it's gone for good. The campaign asks residents if they would sacrifice the beach to live on the beach.

The agency built a sales stand on-site, complete with a 3D model of the building, sales folders, salespeople and flyers. An airplane flew overhead, trailing the sign: "No more crowded beach. Visit our sales stand: Exclusive beach."

Prior to this effort, Akatu Institute ran newspaper ads and set up a Web site to gauge interest and feedback of potential buyers. Residents were led to believe the initiative was real.

Similar experiments took place throughout Brazil, including a block of flats proposed atop Sugar Loaf Mountain.

Following the on-beach presentation, Lew'LaraTBWA approached Rede Globo, Brazil's largest TV channel, about the campaign. This led to coverage on "Fantástico," a popular newsmagazine show that airs every Sunday. Creatives from Lew'LaraTBWA were interviewed, along with the president of Akatu. The story was then posted online, sparking discussions on Twitter, Orkut and Facebook.

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