The Big Bang Fair

Swimming In It

We certainly made a splash in the global press and on social media with our latest creative work for The Big Bang Fair: challenging two of the most promising British synchronised swimmers to perform their World Championship routine in a pool full of plastic.

After collecting thousands of items of plastic (which we gathered by hand from our own homes over a period of four months), we headed to Bristol, where young syncro pros Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe go to school and train, and dumped our entire haul of used single-use plastic drinking bottles, plastic toiletries, plastic bags and plastic containers into their training pool. We then filmed and photographed the pair attempt their normally effortless routine in conditions that are all too familiar for marine life nowadays.

But making a point about what it is like for ocean-dwellers to swim in millions of tonnes of plastic was only half the story. The idea was also an opportunity for us to draw attention to the fact that young people across the UK are more concerned about the environment than ever – and think that STEM could be the path to protecting it. In fact, according to The Big Bang Fair nearly a third (28%) of young people say they want to see the oceans being revolutionised by STEM. It isn’t a case of wishful thinking, either. These young people are putting their hands and minds to the task and coming up with innovative ways to reduce plastic waste, with a 14% increase in those entering The Big Bang Competition 2019 basing their projects on saving the planet and reducing the burden of plastic.

So, as well as our synchronised swimmers, we also used the idea to champion pioneering pupil (and Big Bang competition finalist) Luke De Bretton-Gordon, who has developed ‘edible water bottles’: an invention that could be instrumental in reducing the production of single-use plastic in the future.

With such a simple idea, coupled with stunning content (in particular our beautiful drone shots showing Kate and Isabelle floating while surrounded on all sides by a sea of plastic waste) the media responded in the perfect way: over 200 pieces of coverage including incredible pieces in The Times, Times online, BBC News, Daily Mail (full page), Mail Online (twice), Metro, Metro online, I, BBC Newsround, Sky Sports and The Huffington Post. We’ve also seen our powerful video content go viral on social media, with BBC News, The Guardian and even the World Economic Forum posting our footage across their socials – and subsequently racking up well over 5 million organic views.