The legend says that once you put a shell to your ear, you can actually listen to what the sea has to say. You witness the sound of the sea, no matter how far away you are from the waves. We dug the concept a bit and discovered that this isn’t a legend in the true sense of the word, because it is built on truth. The shell really does emit sounds that are similar to those produced by the sea. There are many theories around this phenomenon, some are myths and others are true. And while scientists are struggling to prove what theory is true, all we have to do is enjoy the calm sound that comes with the shell.

This is a story our parents used to tell us when we were kids to nurture our curiosity. But who says that, as adults, we are no longer allowed to believe similar theories? The difference is that, as mature people, we have the ability to understand things differently. Therefore, it is possible that when we put the shell to our ear, we will hear a cry for help coming from the sea: “What does your freedom mean / In the Anthropocene?”

These are just some of the words we hear when we listen to the plastic-made “shell” that Sharp’s Brewery has made last year as a way to combat ocean plastic in the Atlantic. To build an emotional connection with its audience, the brewery used a vinyl disc to trigger people’s emotions — as we said before, a shell does its magic only when you are kid. So, together with Havas London and by partnering with Mercury Music Prize nominee, Nick Mulvey, it launched the “Ocean Vinyl,” a disc made of the recycled plastic found on the Cornwall Beaches.

During this week’s #ThrowBrandThursday, we invite you to please listen to what the ocean has to say. You might think that this audio experience could activate the grima but it’s not like that at all. Although the disc is made of recycled plastic, the sound emitted is soothing and makes you think twice about the ocean’s well-being.

While playing the album, you can listen to “In the Anthropocene” track, with lyrics exploring the climate crisis and how it can be influenced by humanity’s behavior. Speaking about the campaign, Nick Mulvey said: “My music is about knowing who — or what — we are, right at the core. Aliveness itself, conscious. These times of urgent global crisis are demanding we re-examine ourselves and the world and raise ourselves to match the Earth, this wonder-organism from which we are not, and never have been, separate.”

The beneficiary of the proceeds from the track, including from sales of the limited-edition record pressed onto recycled plastic and digital streams, was Surfers Against Sewage, which aims to save the British coastline from pollution, including plastic waste. Behind this initiative is the London-based agency, which has worked closely with Vivendi’s Universal Music Group. To promote both the song and the campaign, the agency made a short film exploring the making of the record.

James Nicholls, Marketing Controller at Sharp’s Brewery: “Cornish culture is built around the ocean — whether that’s seafood, surfing or even our own Atlantic Ale. Last year, we helped the ocean enter the charts, under Keynvor — which means ‘Ocean’ in the Cornish language. I’m excited to say that today we’re really turning the tables on the music industry by releasing ‘In the Anthropocene,’ with Nick Mulvey — by upcycling single-use plastic found on our beaches and turning it into playable ‘ocean vinyl.’”

Mark Whelan, Chief Creative Officer, Havas UK, concluded: “Another brilliant activation from Sharps, thinking creatively and culturally about this massive issue, the ugly evidence of which is right on their doorstep.”

The campaign was very successful: All records sold out in three minutes, it reached 24 million media impressions, and was highly appreciated on Spotify, which donated to Ocean Clean Up.


Client: Sharp’s Brewery

Agency: Havas London

UK Group Chief Creative Officer: Mark Whelan

Copywriter: Brodie King

Art director: Owen Hunter Jenkins

Account team: Alice Marsh (Business Director); Andrew Symonds (Account Manager); Katy David (Account Executive)

Agency Executive Producer (film): Kiri Hammond

Agency Producer (film) : Mary Musasa

Agency producer (print): James Orr

Programme director: Sarah Barclay

Planner: Clare Phayer

PR Agency: One Green Bean

Media agency: Zenith Media

Production company: HKX Productions

Executive Producer: Lou Hardy

Director: Adam Javes; Owen Hunter Jenkins

DoP: Paul Terry