Zuid-Hollands Landschap

Branding, Digital, E-commerce, Social

Zuid-Hollands Landschap (ZHL) is an non-governmental organization with a not-for-profit goal: to protect and preserve the natural landscape in the Dutch province South-Holland. It has a charitable status and is entirely funded by donations. ZHL purchase land and turn it into nature preserves. Those grounds are maintained and opened to the public.


In South-Holland, the competition for ZHL is fierce. To purchase lands for nature preserve is a difficult task. After all, the province is the main economic region of The Netherlands with 3.5 million inhabitants and containing a world port, a political capital and three leading universities. In such settings, nature preserve can be slightly overlooked. Forcing many people to enjoy nature in other parts. We found out that in all other provinces at least 12 procent of nature is protected. While in South-Holland we can hardly scramble and protect 6 procent of our surrounding nature. Time to rally the people.


When purchasing nature became very hard to accomplish, ZHL had to turn its focus on maintaining and protecting their current nature preserves. No longer adding to the already dismal six procent. But people are unwilling to donate to organizations weeding and wielding a hoe. We decided to put all attention to turning things around. To show people that a mere six procent is not enough. That they should not donate for nature itself, but to preserve themselves. Their own backyards. To protect nature around them. By online and in real-time selecting, claiming and paying for square meters in Google Maps. People told us we were mad. To propose a technical feat that was unheard of. That had never been done before. So whenever has that stopped us?


We made it happen. We realized the complex technical database couplings for online square-meter-shopping. We filmed families and couples claiming their square meters for video posts on Facebook. Produced a graphic animation video and showed it both online and in cinemas around town. We used the voice of a celebrity fan-favorite actor in a radio commercial. Pitched it all in ads in a national newspaper and in banners at several of its online counterpart. We sponsored a feature movie on South-Holland’s nature for regional television. Flocked social media with square-meter-pixel-art. And we have only started.

Barry Atsma - Radiocommercial ‘Van 6 naar 10 procent’

What’s the fun in picking and protecting your own square meters of nature in Google Maps? Sharing it with others, off course. It’s the new charitable selfie. So we automatically coupled Facebook and Twitters posts to online donations. How? By showing the pixel art formed by someone’s own square meters. We had DJ’s write their names, couples show their love and nerds constructing Pac-Man in satellite Google maps.

And yet, let’s not forget about nature itself. Not forget to show people the sheer beauty of their own natural surroundings. We made ZHL sponsor Edwin Haighton’s feature film on South Holland’s nature. Surprising people on regional television and at film festivals with his cinematic accomplishment. Making them see that nature allows us to take a breather once in a while. But at the same time, can be breathtaking to behold.

Campaigning for donations is hard. It takes a long haul of not giving up. Remembering to explain the painfulness of having the least amount of protected nature in the most flourishing part of The Netherlands. But foremost, it takes a change from communicating in established media on well known psychological levels. Appealing to personal gain in daily routines and use of social and news media. We have coupled surrounding nature to human nature.

Wondering if this might work for you?

We stick to our BrainSells methodology. Like the case above. We also understand that you might want to know if the same approach will work for your brand or company. Are you still wondering if we can ‘crack your case’ as well? Then simply contact Jeroen: