I might be late to the party, but I’m still blown away by the "Great Turtle Race," a multi-faceted campaign designed to draw attention to the plight of endangered leatherback turtles. Sponsored by Conservation International and a coalition of partner groups.

Sponsoring companies paid for satellite tags that allowed six migrating leatherback turtles to be tracked over 950 miles from Costa Rica to the Galapagos Islands. And so, with daily online tracking enabled, the "race" was born.

Then imaginations ran wild — from interactive animations explaining the journey, an online baseball card for each "competitor" turtle, online sign-ups to support a favorite turtle, blog commentary on the race, YouTube videos, online banner ads, a MySpace page on the race.

Best of all, someone had the brilliance to name one of the turtles after political satirist Stephen Colbert — the actual name was Stephanie Colburtle. Once this came to the namesake’s attention, and he started commenting about the race on-air, response shot up.

For that idea alone, someone on the race team deserves a raise!

I even like the tagline … "They are going faster than you think."

Bottomline: 54,000 subscribers, 700,000 unique visitors, 2.5 million page views, 5%+ visitors converted into donors.

I am totally envious of this campaign, described here at eMarketing and Commerce.!


P.S. Naturally. with such a great concept, there’s a sequel … "The Great Turtle Race II – The Olympiad."


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