CategoryA10. Not-for-profit / Charity / Government
Idea Creation BBDO INDIA Mumbai, INDIA
Production EQUINOX FILMS Mumbai, INDIA


Name Company Position
Josy Paul BBDO India Chairman and Chief Creative Officer
Hemant Shringy BBDO India Chief Creative Officer
Sandeep Sawant BBDO India Executive Creative Director
Yash Modi BBDO India Group Head - Copy
Rhea Singh BBDO India Copywriter
Noble KA BBDO India Art Director
Hitesh Shah BBDO India Studio Head - Mumbai
Paresh Maharana BBDO India Case Study Producer
BBDO Studio Team BBDO Studio Team BBDO India Studio
Devendra Sawant BBDO India Photographer
Aditya Akhauri BBDO India Account Director - Planning
Varun Saini BBDO India Account Manager
Krishna KV BBDO India Agency Producer
Deb Medhekar Equinox Films Director
Manoj Shroff Equinox Films Producer

Why is this work relevant for Direct?

Sand mining is an on-going environmental disaster which evokes very little conversation in the media and public space. As World Economic Forum put it, it’s a disaster no one has heard of. At Awaaz Foundation we wanted to raise the alarms on this issue but didn’t have the budget to do it by shouting about it in media. Therefore, to generate traction we decided to use the most freely available media to us-the sand itself. Our special Save Our Sand Flip Flops printed messages on beaches giving the issue higher visibility using a direct free media with targeted reach.


One of the largest but silent victims of economic growth in the 21st century have been beaches. Everyday these natural formations are brazenly plundered to obtain sand for construction. As per one statistic, more than 2/3rd of all beaches in the world are disappearing due to sand mining. In sheer scale, it’s a crime comparable with climate change, and yet it remains unaddressed. As the World Economic Forum stated, it is an ecological disaster that no one has heard of. Alarmed by the culture of apathy prevalent amongst authorities and people around this unfolding calamity, the Awaaz Foundation, came with a clear objective – ‘Open the eyes of the people and policy makers to this invisible crime in the most personal yet budget-friendly way possible.’

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

Sand mining is a crime carried out in broad daylight by the sand mafia without any fear of the law. The authorities and citizens all turn a blind eye to these everyday carriers of disaster. How do we get people to notice this crime? With the situation turning worse, Awaaz Foundation recognised the need to act urgently. But with no budget for TV, print or outdoor, we didn’t have the luxury to shout for attention. We turned to the most unexplored free medium available to us – the sand itself. We distributed special Save Our Sand Flip Flops among barefoot hawkers and printed our message across beaches. These slippers left their imprints on the sand targeting the curiosity of beachgoers who in turn sparked the conversation online. Thus was born ‘Save Our Sand’, a direct to citizen campaign which made the crime visible using the sand itself as the medium.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

To bring alive ‘Save Our Sand’ we decided to approach the people who will first feel the impact of the impending catastrophe – the regular beachgoers. The conversation these beachgoers would drive seeing our messages on the beaches would eventually help raise the issue among journalists, activists, policy changemakers as well as the government. Additionally, in order to ensure the efficacy of communication, the beachgoers were targeted when they were most likely to imbibe the message – at the beaches using a medium closest to them when at the beach - the sand itself. The call to action was simple. Next time someone saw a sand truck, remember to stop and ask where the sand comes from. Once people started noticing the crime, they felt a direct connect to the illegal crime itself.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

With no media money, a big challenge was ensuring our message reached a wider audience. To this end we decided to use most unexplored free media available to us – the sand itself. To print our message on the beaches, we created a unique pair of slippers, which left our message on the sand printing it through the beachside. These slippers were then distributed among barefoot hawkers at the beach who wore them and printed them across the beaches. With our message on the sand, these prints peaked the curiosity of beachgoers who sparked an online outrage realising the issue. This use of an unexplored free media speaking directly to beachgoers helped us speak about the topic at a spot where its most relevant. And while our efforts lasted for two months, the slippers we designed and the people we inspired continue to disseminate our message.

List the results (30% of vote)

With hundreds of thousands of people visiting the beaches, every day the campaign generated lots of traction amongst them. As these beach goers shared our message online, social media burst with outrage on realising the issue. A leading website volunteered to distribute our unique flip flops across the country. And the outcry caused leading news publications and broadcasters like BBC, Reuters, Daily Express, Times of India, The Hindu, etc. to give sand mining the attention it deserved. However, this sustained coverage got us our strongest support of all - the United Nations to recognise sand mining as a major sustainability challenge for this century. Awaaz was also invited by the UN to help craft the first global policy document against sand mining. Thus spreading awareness among the regular public while also driving environmental policy change through authorities and international organisations.