The Smurfs are partnering with the European Union to reduce ocean litter by taking part in the Global Beach Cleanup campaign in 140 countries around the world.
Last week the Commission signed an agreement with the Smurfs – or rather the company , which owns the little blue creatures – to team up for the EU’s annual global Beach Clean-up campaign. This partnership aims to increase awareness about the state of our oceans and encourage more people to take care of them.
“Marine pollution is one of the most pressing environmental problems, in Europe but certainly also in the rest of the world,” says João Aguiar Machado, Director-General of DG MARE, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Commission. “With the Smurfs, we have found a partner that can help us reach out globally, while sharing our values and priorities.”
“Smurfs are all about friendship and optimism, and a ‘Yes we can’ spirit“, says Emil Bech Andersen, who leads DG MARE’s communication team, which developed all aspects of this campaign. “And incidentally, they are blue, “just like our oceans.” With the Smurf campaign, DG MARE aims to put environmental issues in a more positive light, as these usually make the news in a negative way only.”
“The Smurfs might be small in size, but they can make a great difference in working towards our world remaining an enjoyable place to live,” states Véronique Culliford, daughter of Smurfs-creator, Peyo, and president of IMPS, the company behind the Smurfs.
The agreement authorises the Commission to use free-of-charge selected Smurfs and custom-made EU-Smurf drawings to promote its 2019 global Beach Clean-up campaign, co-organised by MARE and the EEAS, with the support of DGs COMM and ENV since last year. Beyond Smurf T-shirts and flags, during beach clean-up actions around the world, and a dedicated Smurf-EU school kit will be available.
The Commission will also make use of the pictures on its websites and social media accounts, but – more importantly – joint messages will appear on the accounts of the Smurfs too, thereby gaining access to more than 13 million extra followers on Facebook alone!
“Almost everybody knows the Smurfs,” says Emil. “We hope that thanks to our association with them, we will have additional leverage with children and young people as well.“
“The Commission’s Smurf campaign also provides opportunities to work together with the United Nations,” adds Emil, “as the Smurfs have been partnering up with them to promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs“. And SDG number 14 happens to be on sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.