Sunday, April 10, 2005

A group trying to protect the Chesapeake Bay is asking District-area residents to save the crabs — then eat ‘em.

The Chesapeake Bay Program began a $550,000 ad campaign to persuade residents not to fertilize their lawns during the spring. Rain usually washes the fertilizer right into the Bay, causing pollution.

One TV spot talks about the dangers of fertilizer in the Bay and how it affects blue crabs, which are disappearing.

The voice-over says: “They suffocate slowly from lack of oxygen. No crab should die like this. They should perish in some hot, tasty melted butter.”

The ad continues: “So hold off on the fertilizer until fall, because ridding the planet of delicious backfin is just plain wrong.”

“This is a lighthearted approach to a serious issue,” said Chris Conner, a spokesman for the Chesapeake Bay Program, which is a federal-state partnership that guides the restoration of the Bay.

The ad directs viewers to for more information. The Chesapeake Club is an outreach initiative from the Chesapeake Bay Program.

The ad campaign was created by the Academy for Educational Development, a nonprofit communications and education organization that specializes in social marketing.

“This is not a typical environmental campaign with a typical earthy message,” said Judy Landers, program manager for the Academy for Educational Development.

The theme focuses on “preserving the raw bar” rather than just a theme of protecting the Bay, Ms. Landers said.

The local TV spots and print ads will run through the end of next week. The campaign also included billboards and signs at Union Station and on Metro cars in March.

One ad reads “Protect the crab cake population” with a picture of an empty bun on a plate.

The goal of the campaign is to get District-area residents to change the way they care for their lawns.

The group is asking residents to hire lawn services that know how to fertilize properly or wait until the fall to take care of their lawns, when less rain falls.

In addition, area seafood restaurants are using drink coasters that say, “Save the crabs, then eat ‘em.”

And the winner is …

Arnold Worldwide won big at this year’s Advertising Club of Metropolitan Washington’s Addy Awards.

The McLean advertising agency walked home with 51 Addys and 28 Citations of Excellence for its work with such clients as Amtrak, HealthNow and The Washington Post. The agency also won the overall Best of Show and the Best of Category-Print awards for its work with Colonial Williamsburg.

The Best of Category-Broadcast award was given to August, Lang & Husak of Bethesda for its work with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Rockville’s Hirshorn Zuckerman Design Group won Best of Category-Interactive for XM Satellite Radio.

Friends of the National Zoo won the Best of Category-Collateral.

In total, 133 Addys and 141 Citations of Excellence were presented at the award ceremony on April 2 at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City.

• Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Advertising & Marketing runs every other Monday.

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