Introducing our annual Student Awards
Centred on a collection of live creative briefs

Marine Stewardship Council

Inspire young aspirationals to choose MSC certified sustainable seafood through the power of moving image.


Oceans are essential to life on Earth. They’re really important! Covering more than 70% of the planet’s surface, oceans supply oxygen in every breath we take. They also support the livelihoods of one-tenth of people on the planet, while fish account for one-sixth of the animal protein consumed by people around the world. 'Life under water' is a recognised global challenge and is one of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We’re part of the solution to that problem. The ecological imperative is clear.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation established to address the problem of unsustainable fishing and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.

We’re on a mission to use our MSC ecolabel and fishery certification programme to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood, and working with our partners to transform the seafood market into a more sustainable industry.

The MSC label on a seafood product or menu item means that it:

• Comes from a sustainable wild-catch fishery that has been independently certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard

• Is fully traceable back to that sustainable fishery

To achieve the MSC Fisheries Standard, fisheries must meet 28 performance indicators for sustainability across three principles:

1. Sustainable fish stocks

2. Minimising environmental impacts

3. Effective management

To be part of the supply chain for MSC certified seafood, processors, retailers and restaurants must comply with the MSC Chain of Custody Standard. This ensures that MSC certified seafood is not mixed with uncertified products and can be traced back to a certified fishery. This gives shoppers the confidence that only seafood from an MSC certified fishery can carry the blue MSC label. State of the art DNA testing of seafood samples taken at random confirms this works.

Target audience

We would like to target 18-25 year old ‘Aspirationals’. These are people who have a tendency to:

• Shop for new things that excite them
• Stand out by the way they look, their style
• Believe in the need to consume less and preserve the environment for future generations
• Encourage others to buy from socially and environmentally responsible companies 

You can find out more about the ‘Aspirationals’ here:  

Creative challenge

Create a short video to engage with the target audience that explains the MSC vision and mission and makes it relevant to them in ‘their world’. We’ve found that video around the 30 second mark works best in getting across a message in digital environments. The form your video takes, e.g. animation, film, stop frame, scribble is entirely up to you.

We are very open to how you engage with the target audience, and we are interested in gaining your perspective on how to best tackle this challenge. How you approach this is up to you.

Keep in mind that we don’t have huge executional budgets, but do have access to partner media space that might fit well with your thinking — more information on which can be found in the Project Pack on the YCN website.

Optional: We’d love to hear your thoughts and vision of how your video could play out as part of a wider campaign involving other spin off assets. No more than one page of bullets and prose would be ideal.

Creative Considerations

Despite being our second largest market, according to our research, awareness and understanding of the MSC label amongst regular seafood shoppers in the UK is low at just 12%. Whilst 9 out of 10 agree that ocean sustainability is important, there is a real lack of emotional connection with our label.

When at our best, the value MSC can bring to consumers is…

“I enjoy great tasting seafood I love without feeling guilty”
“I’m creating a better future – and it’s easy”
“I trust that it’s being taken care of and feel good about where I choose to shop”

As a result, we want people to think, feel and do the following…

“I prefer to choose MSC fish”
“I tell my friends and family”
“I trust where my fish comes from”

Ideas should...

Be positive
Relevant to the audience
Be able to scale and work across different channels
Be emotional, creating a moment of pride

Ideas should not...

Be negative and sensationalist
Focus on the problems of overfishing and ocean health
Stigmatise the fishing industry or certain fishing methods or specific species

Please note MSC deliberately steers away from any messaging or theme which majors on negative connotations around the fishing industry – we consider a far stronger approach is to celebrate the positive effects the MSC programme can have on ocean sustainability.

Additional information

MSC is an international non-profit organisation, and so therefore this idea could be adapted to suit other markets in which we operate.

Our website is not consumer friendly (we’re working on it!) but we’re active on social media and currently use #ChooseMSC.

The MSC label is a trademarked logo with specific logo usage guidelines

We would encourage you to:

• Familiarise yourself with our ecolabel user guide at

• Understand the sustainable seafood conversation and what appeals to the chosen target audience in this context

• Get to grips with the kind of retail products and restaurants that offer MSC certified sustainable seafood in the UK from Fish and Chip Shops to IKEA to Sainsbury’s to McDonalds 

• Browse our website for further information at and our social media

• Look at some of our previous consumer campaigns at

• Scan read our annual report at (we don’t expect you to read it word for word!)

• Register to use our multimedia library to grant access to our visual assets and view our style guide at

Please adhere to the Deliverables outlined in the Student Awards section of the YCN website. Any supporting information referenced in the brief can be found in the accompanying Project Pack at the YCN website.