We were first introduced to David Bond and his initially bonkers sounding Project Wild Thing last summer. It was at a goodfornothing event, and David had recently taken a bold career move, appointing himself marketing director for nature. That’s not a start-up, or a yoghurt or a new type of eco-shoe. We’re talking about Old Mother Nature herself… you know, fresh air and trees and that.
David is desperate to reconnect kids with the outdoors. He wants to get them out in the open, playing, exploring and coming home with interesting twigs, grass-stained and smelling of pond. By selling ‘Nature’ as if it were a product he thought he might have more chance of getting through to families in these commercially-driven, Mumsnet-approved times of ours.
A very worthy, but slightly daft idea we thought. That is until we started to visualise the statistics that have motivated David’s campaign.
According to UNICEF we are raising the unhappiest kids in the developed world. The roaming distance that children play from their home has shrunk by 90% in 30 years with time spent playing outside down 50% in just one generation. At the same time, study after study shows time spent outside in nature increases happiness, health and wellbeing in kids (and adults too!).
OK, so once we’d come to terms with that we pulled our wellies on and put ourselves fully at David’s disposal. We started off by illustrating ‘Out and About’ baby packs. Straight after giving birth, mums have the ubiquitous Bounty Pack thrust into their hands. So alongside that bundle of advice leaflets, product samples and vouchers, David and his team wanted to seize the opportunity to give mothers ideas about spending time outside with their baby. Run as a trial study across three major hospitals, the pack would aim to tackle the problem at the source by encouraging parents to help their kids love the outdoors right from the start.
David, with his production company Green Lions, was also producing a film of the whole Project Wild Thing adventure, and asked us to create some animations that would bring some of these worrying facts and trends to life in an engaging way. Challenge accepted! Like climbing a huge tree, from the ground it looked like an ominous task but once we had fought our way to the top and could look back it was worth all of the effort. The final film is an ambitious, feature-length documentary that takes a funny and revealing look at a complex issue. We’re incredibly proud to have been involved in it.
You should watch it, then go outside to enjoy the wild. Nature is the best product there is, and it’s free. Bargain!