19 APRIL 2021

Harnessing the power of sports and music, the MSC Foundation takes coral emergency message to more than 300 million people

Fun video tells story of partnership with Miami Super Bowl 2020, NFL players and singers to raise coral conservation awareness and inform of actions everyone can take to reduce their environmental impact

Focus Area: Marine Conservation


Everyone knows that coral reefs are extraordinarily beautiful. But they’re also much more than that. They support the highest biological diversity of any underwater ecosystem, are home to more than 25% of marine species – including many critically endangered species – serve as a food and economic resource for half a billion people and protect coastal communities from storms and erosion. What’s more, they generate half of Earth's oxygen and absorb nearly one-third of the carbon dioxide generated by burning fossil fuels.

Tragically, this precious resource is in danger of completely dying out within the next two decades due to global heating and pollution.

Faced with this emergency, the MSC Foundation developed its own coral conservation and restoration programme with a panel of international experts. Called The Super Coral Programme, it takes its name from certain hardy species and genotypes of coral, colloquially named “Super Coral”, that have survived recent extreme ocean heat events and other impacts.

The Super Coral Programme is based in the waters around Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas, just 65 miles from Miami. So, when Miami hosted Super Bowl LIV in 2020, MSC Foundation seized the opportunity to harness its power as one of the world’s very biggest sporting events to raise awareness of the urgent need to save coral reefs, and to inform people of simple everyday actions they can take to reduce their environmental impact.

Joining with the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, 54 National Football League (NFL) players and 60 social media influencers, we leveraged the connection-making expertise of the Miami-based communications and public relations firm Newlink to launch the integrated communications campaign #SuperCoralPlay. Together, we reached more than 300 million people in 8 weeks, combining marketing, public relations, social media and a week-long interactive family-friendly experience at Super Bowl Live in Miami’s Bay Front Park.

Instrumental in this tremendous achievement was the #SuperCoralPlay music video by Emmy-nominated songwriter and producer Alexander Star, featuring a coral conservation remix of his “This Is My Era” in which he is joined by Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and broadcaster and retired NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez. The video was filmed at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and has notched up over 10 million YouTube views to date. Bringing as many voices together as possible, the campaign generated a choral response speaking up for coral, the marine environment and our blue planet. And now, the whole story has been told in a fun short video you can see at the end of this article.

At the heart of the campaign was the social media-based #SuperCoralChallenge to take a concrete action – a #SuperCoralPlay – to save the coral and decrease one’s environmental footprint, both through individual action and by pressing for policy measures at local level.

A linked initiative for localities with coral-based names saw Coral Gables in Florida become the first city to make a #SuperCoralPlay, taking the coral conservation message to its 50,000 residents and to visitors. Temporarily adopting the name Super Coral Gables, the city passed a resolution to cease the use of fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorous by City crews or contractors in City owned and operated properties during the rainiest summer months.

At Super Bowl Live, visitors learnt about coral through hands-on activities at the Kids Coral Corner, facilitated by the Perry Institute. They also interacted and took pictures with other NFL players and Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders. Super coral bracelets made from abandoned fishing nets were available for purchase here as well as online, with the proceeds going to support coral reef restoration efforts and Super Coral research.

Across all social media campaigns, this advocacy campaign generated over 352 global media impressions and reached 28+ million Facebook, Instagram & Twitter users, achieving 13 million engagements and 10 million YouTube views!

The massive impact of this partnership initiative testifies to the strength of the MSC Foundation’s commitment to act as more than a funding body, also promoting innovative social and environmental actions, catalysing collaboration between profit and non-profit organisations, and engaging with a wide spectrum of media to raise awareness and achieve lasting change.

MSC Foundation Executive Director Daniela Picco commented: We were truly delighted to reach so many people through the power of partnership, raising awareness of the urgent need to take action to save the world’s precious coral reefs”.

You can follow the full heart-warming story in our fun Super Coral Play video here. Watch it to see how we can all make a difference and… enjoy it!

Together, we can save the coral!