Department of Natural Resources

Getting wise to the benefits of Michigan forests.

For the Forestry Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to achieve their long-term goals, they need public awareness and support. But our research indicated that most Michiganders were unaware of the DNR’s commitment to sustainable forestry practices, and didn’t fully comprehend the full environmental, economic, and mental health benefits of our beautiful forests.

Our research: Getting to the root of the problem.

Brogan designed an online survey, which was deployed against a sample of 800 Michigan residents, with sample quotas set to ensure statewide representation. After analyzing the data for key insights about residents’ knowledge and perception of sustainable forestry and forest benefits, we made our marketing recommendations: to lean into the environmental benefits of our forests — rated as highly important by those surveyed — and to educate Michiganders on sustainable forestry practices and their advantages.

"Wisdom of Trees" - DNR (Sustainable Forestry)

Wisdom wins out.

We focus-group tested three creative concepts, including video storyboards and print ad layouts. The winning campaign, “The Wisdom of Trees,” featured forest facts in several different subjects: Chemis-tree, Indus-tree, Tree-cology, Psychia-tree, and Sustainable Fores-tree. The completed videos garnered 9,461,236 views, and the overall campaign earned 20,222,237 impressions — a veritable forest of positive results.

DNR Mobile Campaign
DNR Mobile Campaign
DNR Mobile Campaign

Fighting fire with satire.

DNR Outdoor
DNR Video
It was just a debris fire

Michigan has a wildfire problem.

In a typical year, Michigan firefighters will respond to as many as 12,000 wildfires—unplanned natural or human-caused free burning fires. They swallow forests by the hundreds of acres, sometimes by the thousands. A single wildfire in 2010 scorched 8,586 acres. It’ll take decades to recover.

The main cause of wildfires is burning debris, like grass clippings and leaves. In short, wildfires are largely accidental and completely preventable.

We used humor to connect with our audience, men 18-55, carefully balancing the seriousness of the challenge with the crux of the problem—lack of knowledge. To stop wildfires, we confronted the target audience with the consequences. To optimize a modest budget, we only placed creative in markets with the highest wildfire risk. We also negotiated with McDonald’s to serve the campaign on tray liners along with McMuffins and Big Macs. Mom always did say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.