Addressing Industry Misconceptions: When Quality and Sustainability Come Hand in Hand

Sailing away on a yacht or a boat should be a celebration of the outdoors, and now, thanks to AkzoNobel’s forward-thinking approach, it can be just that.

Traditional antifouling products have long been at odds with environmental sustainability, but AkzoNobel International is rewriting the narrative with their pioneering biocide-free fouling control products. To address an industry misconception that sustainable products can’t match standard versions in quality, Meijer & Walters created an awareness campaign centred on the new B-free range.

The Case

AkzoNobel, a longstanding leader in the paint and coatings industry, has a history of innovation. They believe in offering both performance and sustainability, and to achieve this, their International brand introduced the B-free range of biocide-free* yacht coatings. These coatings, exemplified by ‘B-free Explore,’ maintain effectiveness while adhering to global environmental regulations.

* Biocide… What?

A biocide is defined in the European legislation as a chemical substance or microorganism intended to destroy, deter, render harmless, or exert a controlling effect on any ‘harmful’ organism. In this case, organisms are labelled as ‘harmful’ if they attach themselves to underwater objects like boats, rope, pipes and building structures. However, a biocide is the harmful culprit, harming the biodiversity found in the hydrosphere. This chemical is often found in foul control coatings.

The Challenge

With the launch of the B-free range, AkzoNobel aimed to pioneer biocide-free fouling control. Raising awareness and fostering a positive perception of AkzoNobel’s new biocide-free yacht coatings involves shifting the conversation about fouling control. To achieve this, they sought to:

  • Connect with audiences on the love for boating.
  • Highlight the connection between boating and environmental stewardship.
  • Emphasise the performance benefits of the B-free range.
  • Raise awareness about environmental regulations.
  • Showcase the effectiveness of biocide-free products.

Jörg Walter, Founding Partner and Strategy Director at Meijer & Walter, said:

AkzoNobel is shaking things up when it comes to fouling control, and changing habits is not an easy thing to do! However, by taking the right insights as a starting point, the journey leading to change can be made smoother.


The Output

Meijer & Walters developed a creative strategy, inspired by the concept of ‘Turning fouling control on its head’:

  • AkzoNobel’s unique approach: Shifting the fouling control conversation.
  • Two sides of the coin: Biocide-free vs. traditional coatings.
  • Attention-grabbing device: A fresh perspective.
  • Highlighting the benefits: Emphasising the upside of biocide free products.

This foundation led to the creation of unique visuals and a comprehensive messaging framework. The campaign informed AkzoNobel’s audience about B-Free as a new fouling control coating range that excels in performance while minimising environmental impact. The result is a beautifully crafted and intelligent campaign concept, ready to be rolled out by various specialist agencies around the globe.

About Meijer & Walters

Meijer & Walters help their clients do the right things, and do them right. They help find true solutions to actual needs, leaving no stone unturned and getting their creative and strategic quality to pixel perfect! Founded in 2012, Meijer & Walters consists of a team of 10 creative strategy professionals, plus a network of specialists that support them whenever that’s needed. They work internationally for companies like Roche Diagnostics, Geomax, MP corporate Finance, and Air France KLM with branding, activation, and content.