• 02.11.13

These Incendiary Ads Will Make You Want To Save The Whales

A collection of ads from the guerrilla ocean protection group Sea Shepherd might make you a little squeamish, but they’ll force you to confront what’s going on in our oceans.

You might care a lot about what happens to polar bears, or pandas, or cheetahs. These are adorable animals that you can see on TV frolicking and playing. You might even visit them in a zoo. Marine life is a little harder for people to connect with. Under the ocean’s surface, who knows what’s happening? And who cares, really, if someone is doing bad things to a shark or a fish? That’s a perception that Sea Shepherd–an ocean conservation organization that takes aggressive, sometimes violent action to stop people from harming ocean life–wants to change. Buzzfeed has collected ads for the organization from around the world that aim to get you amped up about the need to save the whales, and to make you realize that the death of a whale is just as bad as the death of a cuter, more relatable animal.


Some of the ads feature bears and pelicans getting harpooned, to show that when we kill all the fish, we’ll actually be killing all the animals that eat fish. There’s a secondary message, as well: If people stuck harpoons down a grizzly bear’s throat during the salmon runs we’re all familiar with from nature films, there would be a far greater outcry than there is about whaling. In fact, Sea Shepherd today appealed to the Supreme Court to lift an injunction that prevents them from getting near enough to Japanese whalers to stop them from killing whales. The outcry is minimal.

Whales aren’t the only focus on Sea Shepherd. The global shark population has been decimated, partially because of the demand for shark fin soup as a delicacy in Asia. These ads depict a wedding party standing on the bodies of all the sharks that were killed for their shark fin soup.

And then there’s tuna, a fish we’ve eaten almost to extinction. Ask yourself: Would you eat tuna if they were as cute as pandas?

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Ideas section, formerly