The Mexican beer brand Corona has long been associated with the sea and beach life. But pollution is increasingly threatening these areas. That’s the inspiration for this unusual event the brand recently hosted in Mexico – the Plastic Fishing Tournament.
The competition, launched by advertising agency We Believers, urged local fishermen to go out to sea, not to catch fish, but to collect plastic waste. During the event, 80 fishermen competed for the “biggest catch” and brought in more than 3 tons of plastic waste.
Corona is owned by AB InBev in Mexico, while Constellation owns the distribution rights for the beer in the USA. The brand has long been a priority in the fight against plastic pollution on land, but for this campaign, We Believers suggested that the brand go deeper, all the way into the oceans, with cleaning up.
“In Mexico in particular, the combination of ocean plastic pollution and overfishing has a direct impact on small local fishing communities,” says Gustavo Lauria, co-founder of We Believers. “When fishermen go to sea, they find a lot more plastic than fish, and the fish they catch are much smaller than the ones they caught a decade ago. So we’ve linked the dots to encourage them to collect plastic instead of fish and create a new source of income for their communities. “
The winner of the tournament collected almost 815 pounds of plastic on the day of the competition and earned 14,800 pesos, the equivalent of a month’s salary while fishing at local rates.
However, the other participants did not go away empty-handed. Corona matched them with the country’s largest recycling company, Mexico Recicla, which compensated them for their prey at higher prices than they would be paid for fish.
According to Lauria, Mexico Recicla will recycle the recovered plastic into tools that fishermen use every day. The company is also currently in talks with the fisherman to formalize how they can work together in the longer term.
Lauria adds that other Mexican fishing communities learned about the tournament and reached out to Corona to bring the competition idea to their areas.