June 6, 2024

Penguins, Purpose, and Perseverance

What do CMOs and penguins have in common? More than you might think! Celebrate a major milestone with Episode 400, as Drew goes off the beaten path, sitting down with Dr. Pablo “Popi” Borboroglu – penguin conservationist extraordinaire and founder of Global Penguin Society (GPS). 

Popi shares his lifelong purpose of protecting penguins, and the vital role these remarkable birds play in the health of our oceans and planet. Learn amazing facts about different penguin species, their abilities to thrive in extreme environments, the threats they face, and how you can help. 

Hear incredible stories like how Popi’s team grew one colony from 6 penguin pairs to over 8,000 through community partnership and eco-tourism efforts. He also shares his ambitious $6 million vision to purchase and preserve critical breeding grounds to ensure penguins survive for centuries to come. 

This conversation highlights the efficient, adaptable, highly social, and resilient nature of penguins—qualities top marketers need to drive impact. Whether you’re a penguin lover or looking for creative ways to engage your B2B communities, tune in! 

Final Note: Renegade Marketers Unite is brought to you by CMO Huddles—a highly engaged community of B2B CMOs inspiring B2B greatness through confidence, colleagues, and connection. A group of penguins is called a “huddle,” and CMO Huddles donates 1% of all annual revenue to GPS.

What You’ll Learn 

  • Common threats faced by penguins 
  • How GPS is helping penguins 
  • How to aid in penguin conservation  

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 400 on YouTube 

Resources Mentioned 


  • [0:29] We’re talking… Penguins!?   
  • [1:52] Meet Dr. Pablo “Popi” Garcia Borboroglu  
  • [4:04] Purpose and penguins  
  • [8:13] Threats on land and on sea   
  • [12:14] GPS’ role in conservation   
  • [15:40] Penguin resilience, social behaviors, habits   
  • [23:42] Ad break  
  • [24:39] El Pedral Colony: From 6 pairs to 8K Magellanic penguins   
  • [33:42] Partnering with GPS  
  • [39:59] Protecting the future of penguins   
  • [45:24] How to donate

Highlighted Quotes  

“Penguins are excellent indicators of the conditions of the oceans and the coasts they inhabit.” —Dr. Pablo Borboroglu

“When people see penguins, they smile. We need to use that natural connection to change the perception towards the environment, to change our habits and our behaviors.” —Dr. Pablo Borboroglu

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Pablo Garcia Borboroglu

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade, Drew Neisser.

Drew: Hello, Renegade Marketers! Welcome to Episode 400. Yep, that’s right, 400. To celebrate this milestone, once again, we are going off the beaten path. Some of you may remember episode 100 featured my father Carl Neisser when we had this wonderful conversation. 200 gave us Ben Franklin, an impersonator, but he did a good job. And 300 delivered some of our greatest hits, and 400, well, 400 we’re seriously venturing into the wilderness speaking with the world’s foremost expert on penguin conservation. Wait, what? W e’re talking about penguins, those adorable flightless birds of the Southern Hemisphere. Now why, Drew, why are we talking about penguins? First, it turns out that B2B CMOs have a lot in common with these efficient, adorable, adaptable, highly social problem-solving, and resilient creatures. Second, a group of penguins is called a huddle, get it? CMO Huddles, huddle, good. Third, CMO Huddles is committed to helping the Global Penguin Society by donating 1% of our annual revenue and some of our marketing expertise. Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, like our guest today, I find penguins endlessly fascinating. And by the end of this show, I hope you do too.

Now speaking of our guest, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Dr. Pablo, nicknamed Popi or Borboroglu, an Argentine conservationist who has dedicated over 30 years to the study and conservation of seabirds, particularly penguins. He holds a PhD in Biology and is a researcher at the National Research Council of Argentina and the National University of Comahue. Dr. Borboroglu is also the co-chair of the IUCN SSC Penguins Specialist Group, leading international efforts in penguin conservation through science, management, and education programs across penguin habitats. And in 2023, he won the Indianapolis Prize, which I hadn’t heard of, but it’s the world’s leading award for animal conservation issued only every two years. With that, welcome, Popi, thank you so much for joining us. So first of all, how are you and where are you this fine day?

Pablo: Hello, Drew. It’s such a great pleasure to be talking to you and thank you so much for your interest in what we do to protect penguins and to study them. I am in the city where I live, it is called Puerto Madryn, it is on the Atlantic coast of Patagonia in the southern part of Argentina. And I live here because penguins are my neighbors. I have colonies all around me. The closest colonies are just one hour’s drive from home. But I see penguins when I go to the beach. So it’s penguin land.

Drew: So just literally, you go an hour and you see it. So for you, this could be an everyday occurrence.

Pablo: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that we do is we put tracking devices on the penguins, to see where they are in the ocean, where they are going to find food. And it’s interesting because we see that they leave the colony, some of them they come just in front of my city. So there are penguins all around us. And we are now during the breeding season. So we have lots of penguins.

Drew: Amazing. So let’s go back a few decades. I mean, how does one end up making penguins sort of your life’s purpose? How does that start?

Pablo: So I like to tell the story about my grandmother because I think she was the person that connected me to nature. My grandfather was Greek. That’s why my difficult surname Borboroglu, and he came 100 years ago from Greece to Patagonia. And they were living here with my grandmother and when I was born, my grandmother used to tell me these fantastic stories about her visits to see the penguins along the coast of Patagonia. Of course, Drew, back then ecotourism didn’t exist. Nobody was visiting these kinds of places here, in fact, they were still harvesting sea lions and elephant seals to produce fat, but my grandmother would enjoy and she would, I remember she was telling me stories about how the adults would go into the ocean and come out, come on land, and they would fiercely protect the chicks from predators. So those stories were part of me. And then later on, when I was an adolescent, I visited a huge penguin colony here, when I was surrounded by almost half a million penguins, I felt that strong connection with them, I felt like I needed to help them. And because back then there was a huge problem with oil spills here, 40,000 penguins were dying per year due to oil spills in this region. So I started to do a lot of things to help them after a huge oil spill in ’91, like 43 years ago, I set up a rehabilitation center. And that was important to increase the visibility of the problem and to convince politicians that this was a real problem. After that, I saw the need to have more tools to educate myself and to pursue an academic career to be more efficient in this objective of helping penguins.

Drew: Just the vision of you being surrounded by 500,000 penguins, it’s kind of an incredible notion. I had the pleasure of swimming with some Galapagos penguins, and there was a colony of maybe 10. And they were just swimming around. But I can’t imagine at that scale, you must’ve been blown away. Was there any point in time because I love this career path? And it’s so unusual. But did your parents say to you, Popi, penguins? At any point in time, did someone say, what are you doing?

Pablo: Yeah, you’re right. I was shocked by this fact that it was common to go to the beach and see penguins, oiled penguins dying or dead. People were used to that. And for me, it was shocking every day to go and see that scenario. So I started to collect them. And I set up a small rehabilitation center before that huge oil spill in ’91. So I was collecting, rehabilitating them, releasing them, you know, and then I was always concerned and going to the radio sharing the problem about oil spills. And not my parents, because my parents always nurtured my connection with nature. But some people say, “Oh, you’re like immature, you need to mature, you know, forget about those penguins, you know, leave them, you need to do something useful, something that will be profitable.” Something like, because 30 years, now we’re talking about the environment. I am 55. But when I was 10, nobody was talking about the environment at school. Nobody was like now, like school kids, now they have programs, they have classes, they have information about the environment and the ways we need to protect them. 30 years ago, it was not a problem. I mean, we were doing harmful things. But nobody was talking about that. And you know, and dedicating a life to rehabilitate, to help penguins was like a waste of time for most people. But I never gave up, I continued on my direction. And because I saw the need to do many things because penguins are facing main threats globally, locally, and they needed help.

Drew: They needed help. And so you shared a bunch of videos with me. I’ve watched all of them. And there was one notion in there that really stuck with me, which is penguins are an interesting bellwether of the environment because they live on land and sea. Can you talk about that and expand on that, and why penguins sort of aren’t just their own ecosystem? They’re part of a much bigger one.

Pablo: Absolutely. And also, it is important for people to know that there are 18 different species of penguins. They only live in the southern hemisphere. They are marine birds, they spend most part of their life in the ocean. But they also need to be on land because they need a dry place to build a nest, to incubate the eggs, and to raise their chicks. So the problem is that they’re not only facing threats in the ocean, but also on land. So if you compare a penguin with let’s say, a dolphin, they have marine problems, but penguins have marine and terrestrial problems. So, when we study the penguins due to this reality, and due to the characteristics that penguins have, they are excellent indicators of the condition of the oceans, and also the conditions of the coasts they inhabit. In the ocean, they are mainly affected by human activities, mainly fisheries. Sometimes fisheries compete for food, there is overfishing, so they deplete the food close to the penguin colonies when chicks are small, which is the moment of the year where they need food to be close to the colonies. So the adults can go get the food and feed the chicks regularly. But on top of that, sometimes penguins die when they get entangled in fishing nets during the fishing operations. Apart from fisheries, we also have problems in the ocean with pollution. It used to be a lot about oil pollution. Now, it is also about plastic pollution. Penguins can get entangled in big pieces of plastics, or sometimes they, when they’re diving, they eat small pieces of plastics that can harm and kill them. And on top of that, we also have microplastic issues. And then, when they come on land, we are facing a lot of problems with human disturbance, places where people take penguins for granted, whether activities are very harmful, or even unregulated touristic activities where there are a lot of people stressing penguins, forcing pictures, you know, throwing stones. And not everybody loves penguins as we think. We have lots of problems in many places. And finally, we have an issue with climate change. Because climate change in the ocean is changing what we call the availability of food, it is moving the food from the places and in the moments where food is needed. And on land, what we’ve seen, we are seeing an increase in the frequency and the intensity of heat waves. And penguins can cope at a certain temperature. But at some point, they reach a lethal temperature and they can die. Like here in Patagonia a couple of years ago, we registered a temperature of 44 degrees Celsius, which would be 112 degrees Fahrenheit in one of our penguin colonies. And that’s impossible for a penguin because they don’t sweat like us. They are covered by feathers, they only dissipate the heat panting like a dog and through the flippers and the legs. That’s not enough. So that afternoon, many penguins were leaving their nests to refresh themselves in the ocean, but hundreds died trying to reach the coast. So this is like a new threat that we are seeing. And of course, heat waves are triggering wildfires. And that’s also an issue for penguins.

Drew: Yeah, there’s a lot of just so many threats. And it’s again, in the videos, I could see where the plastics were coming up to the beach. And we’ve all seen that. And obviously, we’ve seen oil spills. You mentioned 18 species of penguins like the Galapagos ones. That’s one I’m assuming that’s a unique one that we swam with? Are you focused on any particular species? And if so, why?

Pablo: Yeah, so as I mentioned before, I started like an academic career. But I realized that producing science is very important, but it’s not enough to help conservation. You know, you really need science to drive to identify the problems. But conservation is much more than producing just science. So I created the Global Penguin Society, which is an international institution to protect all the species of penguins on the planet. And we help them by producing science that is useful for conservation, also protecting the environment where penguins live, on land, but also in the ocean. We create huge protected areas to protect the fishing grounds for penguins. And then we have a huge and amazing education program, where we take thousands of kids in developing countries, kids that live half an hour away from the colonies, they’ve never been able to see the penguins. So we take them, teach them about the needs of the penguins, and how important it is to protect the penguins and the environment where they live. And we also have multiple strategies to reach global audiences. Like sometimes we offer online streamlined classes, through satellite antennas, we go to very remote penguin colonies and we connect online with thousands of kids and school kids from all over the planet. So we reach global audiences and we use penguins also for our campaigns related with plastics, with fisheries, with all the different ways where we can help penguins and the oceans also. So this is the way we have been working right now. And the species, coming to your question, it depends on the moment. Sometimes we have projects that last three, four years, sometimes our projects are permanent. For example, right now, we are investing a lot in New Zealand penguins. It’s interesting to know that penguins appeared 62 million years ago, in New Zealand, there used to be a microcontinent called Zealandia, which is where New Zealand is right now. And penguins appeared there. And from there, they conquered all the southern hemisphere, South America, South Africa, Antarctica. So it’s interesting because most people think that they are from Antarctica, and they are not. But yeah, so we are working with Fiordland crested penguins in South New Zealand. We’re also supporting projects with a very strange penguin called erect-crested penguin, one of the least known penguin species of all, they only live in a couple of sub-Antarctic islands in New Zealand. And of course, Magellanic penguins here in South America, king penguins as well here. And we support different activities even in South Africa for the African penguins, in Peru for the Humboldt penguins as well. So we change. I co-chair, as you mentioned, the Penguin Specialist Group, which has influence on national and international penguin policy, but for all penguin species, so we benefit all of them.

Drew: Got it. It’s funny, folks think of penguins, as a lot of people think of immediately the emperor penguin. But there’s quite a bit of range in these birds. And of course, I’m sure it’s affected by their habitat, and so forth. You’ve spent a lot of time in the field studying these birds and their habitats, what are some of the things that you’ve learned that may surprise folks that don’t spend time in the field with penguins?

Pablo: So, this is interesting, because sometimes, you know, we have, of course, working in conservation is not easy. Because we’re dealing with a lot of problems, we are working more and more with people because we need to change the behavior of people. Working in conservation is just about that. It’s not changing the behavior of penguins. It’s changing the behavior of what we do as humans. And sometimes there are so many problems, because we deal with politicians, with very powerful sectors, like the oil industry, the fishing industries, and there are many, many different situations where things are very difficult. And when we go to a penguin colony, and we see how brave and determined and driven these guys are, we say they give us the strength to continue and move on and say, how can we give up when these little guys that are so small, they have chicks in their nests, they protect the chicks from pumas and foxes and all kinds of predators, and they have to deal with humans that don’t behave as they should, then they go to the ocean, swim hundreds and thousands of kilometers to get food for the chicks, they cross fishing areas, oil-polluted areas, and then they come back. And their goal is to raise their chicks, and they do it. So they give us that strength. And it’s also interesting, because they have different personalities, they’re not the same, they look the same it’s just like humans, you know? So some of them are social, and very friendly. But some are really cranky and very unfriendly or antisocial. And they don’t like to be studied and they’re just like that all through the breeding season. But some of them, they really protect their nests, and they go and they kind of, you know, stand up to you and say “No, stop it, don’t go any closer.” And they’re so small. So they’re so brave. And it’s also surprising when you study them to learn very interesting things. Some Magellanic penguins, for example, they can live up to 35 years old, which is a lot, you know, it’s a lot for a penguin. So some penguins like the one you’ve mentioned, the emperor, they can dive down under the surface of the ocean, they can dive, half a kilometer, which would be like 1600 feet, diving, you know, and they fish in the dark. And so they have adaptations in the eyes to capture the light for the few light rays available. But they can spend 23 minutes there without breathing. Like a human being, if we’re very well trained, we can be without breathing for four minutes at the most. I mean, you have to be a professional. So the patience that these penguins have are really surprising, and amazing. And of course, I love them to conquer the most extreme places on the planet like Antarctica with the emperor penguins, because these guys, they spend the winter in Antarctica incubating eggs and taking care of the chicks. So that is absolutely mind-blowing. 

Drew: Yeah, It’s amazing because the conditions, it’s hard to imagine a much harsher environment. And yet they’ve adapted to it quite amazingly. So many things that you just said struck me, the ability to dive deep underwater, but I want to go back to the social or anti-social aspect of it. One of the things you notice in the Galapagos is most of the wildlife isn’t afraid of anybody. You know, they’ve been protected for a pretty long time and even the sharks are friendly and safe in the Galapagos. But I wonder how much of their learned behavior is because in some places, humans weren’t a threat or they just didn’t identify it as such, whereas in others, humans were more of a threat. I don’t know. I’m just sort of throwing out, you know, very probably inconsequential, unscientific information, but wondering why is it that some of them are friendlier versus others?

Pablo: You’re absolutely right. Because it’s just like you described, for example, the penguins are leaving Antarctica, the emperor penguins, they’re not afraid of people because there are no people. Only the people that go there are visitors, and the visits are regulated, or researchers that do not harm these penguins. And they don’t have predators in Antarctica. As you said, they are the only living creatures that stay in the winter there. So it’s not uncommon when you go to Antarctica, the penguins, they come close to you because they’re curious. They want to see you, what you are, they come to do a human watching. But if you go to other places with humans, like here in South America, the penguins are really afraid of people, unless you manage a colony and you open the colony to visits, and the implementation of the regulations are efficient. So when we design management plans to open colonies for visitors, we make sure that the rules are followed because penguins, we have to offer penguins the security that people will be there, people will not trespass, they will follow the rules. Sometimes penguins, just like humans, sometimes they feel social so they cross the tourist trails, they don’t care. Sometimes they don’t want to be among people, you know, it’s just like us. Sometimes we wake up in the morning, you don’t want to talk to others, sometimes you’re very social. But we have to offer that security to penguins that people will be there behaving in this way. So with time, these penguins get very habituated to people. So that allows the penguins to be safe and to be in a secure environment that allows also to offer a great experience for the visitors. And you know what, Drew, penguins are a very important source of income for many developing countries. There are 294 places on the planet where people can visit penguins in the wild. And that is why it is very important to have management plans and that people follow the rules because they’re not invented just because, they have a scientific basis. And as you said, not all penguins are the same. The yellow-eyed penguin, for example, in New Zealand, you cannot get closer than 150-200 meters. They’re very shy. They abandoned their nests. And you’ve been very lucky because the Galapagos penguin is one of the rarest penguin species on the planet. The complete global population is under 2,000 pairs. So you’ve been so lucky to see 10. So that’s really a gift. And as you say, we have penguins in Antarctica, but we also have the tropical penguins like the Galapagos that you’ve seen.

Drew: Yes and I’m looking forward to, by the way, seeing them later this year in South Africa. There’s a big colony, right? It’s just off of Cape Town.

Pablo: Exactly, Boulders Beach. It’s amazing. And those penguins, when you go there, they’re used to seeing people because there’s a small town there, penguins nest among the houses. They go into the beach, but then you will be able to see this habituation. So the key thing is that not only for penguins, this is for everything, and even for the conservation of our planet. As humans, we need to learn how to coexist with this wildlife that has been in these places for millions and millions of years until we arrived.

Drew: Amazing. Okay, we’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we’re going to talk a little bit more about how, you know, some of your conservation efforts and maybe how folks can sort of get involved or participate or where their money might go to. So stay with us.

Drew: This show is brought to you by CMO Huddles, the only marketing community dedicated to B2B greatness, and that donates 1% of revenue to the Global Penguin Society. Wait, what? Yeah, it’s kind of weird, isn’t it? But let me explain. It turns out that B2B CMOs and penguins have a lot in common. Both are highly curious and remarkable problem solvers. Both prevail in harsh environments by working together with peers, and both are remarkably mediagenic. And just as a group of penguins is called a Huddle, our community of over 400 B2B marketing leaders huddle together to gain confidence, colleagues, and coverage. If you’re a B2B CMO who can share, care, and dare with the best of them, do yourself a favor and dive into CMO Huddles. We even have a free starter program. Now let’s get to the episode.

Drew: We were just talking about South Africa and the colonies, but I know that you’ve done some specific work with sort of, I don’t know whether it was reintroducing a colony to a certain place, but you had an incredible success story. Can you talk about that program?

Pablo: Sure, the story of this colony is absolutely amazing, spectacular. We discovered this new colony of Magellanic penguins here in Patagonia 15 years ago. When we visited, the place was a complete mess. There were only six pairs of penguins building their nests. So they’re settling down. This is what we call the founder group. They’re very brave because for the first time, they as a group decided, okay, let’s settle down here. But the place was a mess. It was used by very reckless people, and careless visitors that were throwing garbage everywhere, all kinds of garbage, pieces of cars, they were changing the oil from cars there. There were all kinds of cans and plastics. They also used the place to make barbecues. So we could find some bushes that were burned, where the penguins were nesting. They also were hunting, they were taking dogs, and dogs were very harmful and a very big threat for the penguins. So these penguins, when they are prospecting, when they’re creating a new colony, they’re exploring for a safe place, but that was not a safe place. So there were no clear regulations from the government to secure the conditions for those penguins. So we decided to close the gate together with the landowners and say okay, we need to protect this colony because in one afternoon, those penguins could have been killed. And we saw that the habitat was amazing because it’s a typical habitat for penguins, a perfect habitat in terms of the quality of the soil. They can dig burrows, but also the vegetation. So we started to protect them. We had a lot of problems. People were coming with guns, threatening us because they wanted to trespass. They were cutting the fences so they would trespass with their trucks. There were many, many violent incidents. But we could secure the conditions for the penguins. And that was amazing because penguins responded. The second year, there were 20 nests, the other one, 145. And now in our last census, we counted more than 8,000 breeders in that colony. And during this time, we also worked with the landowners to help them develop a small responsible ecotourism operation so we could secure a presence in the area to oversee the area, but also that offered jobs for a lot of local people like, cooks, drivers, tour guides, many different roles, and also was a source of income. So we started to change the distribution of power and the economy because people perceived that protecting those penguins was good for their economy, for their livelihoods. So there was like a resistance towards the others that wanted to enjoy the place by destroying it. And then we were able to declare it a wildlife refuge, which gave us a layer of protection. And of course, we used the area to make a lot of our education activities. We take hundreds and thousands of kids to visit the penguin colonies to interact with them. And we also organize huge plastic cleanup campaigns, to remove all the plastics. We invite all the members of the communities, hundreds of adolescents and this is amazing, Drew, because climate change, maybe is a concept that is not easy to grasp. It’s an abstract concept. But plastics, you can see the plastics. So when we go in the morning, and all those people, they see all the plastics along the beach, in the nest among the cheeks, among the pens, they can see the impact that we are doing to the planet. But then, after one day of work, when they turn around, and they see all the beach that is clean, the nests are neat and tidy, they can see the impact that they can have on the planet on a good sense. So those people will never throw garbage again and they will stop using single-use plastics, which is a great help for the penguins and the planet. So these are the things that we are doing using that colony and the colony will keep on growing because the habitat is amazing, the conditions are safe now. People perceive that a live penguin is much better than a dead one and it’s a win-win. Everybody wins now. 

Drew: Yeah and that’s an incredible story and incredible model. I mean, just to sort of think of six pairs versus 8,000 is phenomenal. But the notion of being able to take a resistant community who was using this beach for certain purposes, and say, “No, we’re going to use it for something else, but it’s going to be okay.” I wonder if that is a model for others because you’ve created ecotourism, which is revenue, which sort of will bring the community and the education program. And the last part I want to just sort of emphasize from a nonprofit standpoint, the plastic days are an easy way for people to get back. They can participate right and you can see it. So much of nonprofit work, you can’t actually feel the impact, here they could which is really sensational. Have you sort of exported that model? And what’s the name of that particular beach or program?

Pablo: It’s called El Pedral. El Pedral Colony is in an area called Punta Ninfas but the place is called Pedral Colony. It’s on the, again, here in Patagonia on the Chubut province. So yeah, of course, we were negotiating with the people that, at the beginning, you cannot negotiate with somebody that comes with a gun. But then with other groups that wanted to go there and fish and you know, if it’s not controlled, they were going and destroying the place. So I said, “Okay, let’s coordinate this, you want to fish, okay, you can fish in other places nearby under these circumstances, when penguins are no longer there, because it happens here only for six months, they migrate and they leave the area.” So they can still fish without destroying the area, following the rules. So we can coexist. And this can be applied to any human need. Because of course, we need to develop our economy, we all want to satisfy our needs. And we can do that. But at the same time, we need to consider the needs of this wildlife. And in this case, we kind of intertwine that to the needs of the penguins, we can justify the economical needs of the people that live here.

Drew: Interesting. The other thing I was thinking about, suddenly you have 8,000 penguins, in theory, predators would start to repopulate the area too, right? I mean, you know, the ecosystem would change. And so folks that are in the sea that like to eat them, or folks on the land that might find them as a nice snack, I’m listening to a book right now James Michener, and they talked about early settlers of Cape Town, not liking the taste of penguin, this was the 1500s and you know, they they were a little bit hungry, but I’m imagining there are plenty of species that do enjoy a penguin snack. Has that changed for El Pedral? Are there new predators or has the whole ecosystem changed?

Pablo: One of the key roles of the penguins is the key ecological role that they have. And one of the roles that they have is they’re prey, they’re food for others. And that’s really important. So this place is amazing, because we see killer whales passing by. And of course, they are eating penguins, which is, of course, what they are supposed to do. And also in this area, we have pumas and wild cats, and foxes. And we see normal predation, because this is normal in our colonies, particularly in the periphery of the colonies. Seabirds, they nest in colonies, because they say that one of the benefits is when you are in a big group, you are diluted. So the chance that you get eaten is diluted because you have other neighbors. So we see that very, very clearly in penguins because most of the predation occurs in the boundaries in the outer boundaries. But yeah, but it’s a balance. You know, here in Patagonia, we think that penguins, and talking about thousands of years ago, penguins were restricted to islands only because there were so many predators, pumas and foxes that they couldn’t conquer mainland. But then when humans conquered this place, they started to build ranches. So they killed a lot of predators. And that offered the opportunity for penguins to conquer mainland. And that’s how we started to see big and huge penguin colonies on the continent that didn’t exist before.

Drew: Interesting. Yeah, that that would make a lot of sense. Well, in theory, this is a show about marketing. So I’d love to hear how you get the word out about Global Penguin Society. And maybe we start with a brand that is a partner that works with you. I know that Disney is a partner, for example, and talk a little bit about that. So help folks imagine oh, what would it mean to be a partner with a Global Penguin Society?

Pablo: So yeah, exactly. So we have different partnerships, and part of our funds, they come from individual donors that donate to us directly, all of these donors, they come from the States, and then we have partners with you know, these corporate partnerships with Disney or National Geographic. In some cases, there are brands like Sand Cloud, that they they make articles for the beach, or Follow Your Legend. So it depends. There is now a partnership with a company called My Follow that they produce bracelets, you get a bracelet and you also get your penguin and you can track in real time the position of that penguin as the penguins migrating or eating. So you see the story of the penguin on this application and learn a lot of things. So with each partner are we have different objectives. Of course with Disney in this case, there is not only the need to have their funds to create protected areas, we have very successful experiences with Disney, they supported one of the main protected area here, which is three, almost 8 million acres of land on the ocean is the largest UNESCO biosphere reserve in Argentina. We named it Patagonia Azul or Blue Patagonia. But the thing with Disney, it’s also that they support our efforts but it’s also that through their structure, through their channels, or all the reach that they have, we can deliver a conservation message to protect the oceans through the penguins. So this is also important because not only through like trips, or small videos but also through documentary films. They launched a movie called Penguins, like five years ago, and that was also interesting. It was a way to deliver a conservation message to people connected to the needs of the penguins. And the same thing about National Geographic, we started to work with them before Disney purchased National Geographic, but National Geographic, they have a different kind of strategic objectives through the magazine or the documentary films or the TV channel and they support projects, like grants, you know. While they’re supporting research because like, we buy the devices to track penguins and then we where the penguins are in the ocean and we protect those areas. They also support our science, our protection, but also the education program. And in multiple ways. Like I said before, sometimes we talk about penguins as a way to talk about climate change, to talk about plastics to talk about many different things that are difficult to address.

Drew: Yeah, I mean, what’s amazing about sort of the—climate change is an abstract thing. Penguins are very real. And somehow or other we humans relate to penguins in a way that we don’t all other species. And, you know, it’s part of it is that they walk upright. And you know, the classic tuxedo look, there’s just something that captures the imagination of penguins. I’m wondering if you had a wish list for partners and what you would want them to do, feel free to name a brand on the show, but also, what need could another partner step up and fulfill for your organization right now.

Pablo: So I always thought that it would be natural to have Original Penguin clothes, like as a supporter, you know, the penguin brand. Because I love the brand, I use the brand. I wrote to them, but I never had the chance to talk to the right person. But I think it would be a fantastic partnership because it’s natural.

Drew: That’s Munsingwear I think. So hey, CMO of Munsingwear, pay attention here, this is an opportunity for you. Okay, now keep going.

Pablo: There are many models and perfect examples of other organizations where their animal is the logo of a big company, Jaguar, and you know, like seahorses with a company from chocolates in Belgium, there are many, many examples of that. And Original Penguin is one. The other one would be Warner Brothers, they produce Happy Feet. They produce a lot of very famous documentary films and movies. It would be absolutely fantastic also, to count with their help. Because I think, well you know about this, I know nothing about marketing. But sometimes what we offer to our partners and the donors is experience, we don’t want a check, we want them to be part of our colony, we want them to be part of the help because we are all in different roles, helping the penguins in different ways. We cannot be all of us doing, you know, tracking the penguin or doing this or that. But this is teamwork. In Argentina, you know, soccer is very famous. We have different roles within our soccer team. So this conservation is just about the same and we need a lot of supporters, we need within them to feel that they are doing something that is bigger than themselves, you know, and this is a chance not only to help penguins. Penguins represent the oceans, the oceans, they are very important for the health of our planet. They produce food, they produce the oxygen that we breathe, every two breaths we take, the oxygen for one comes from the ocean, and of course they regulate the weather on the entire planet. So we are alive thanks to the oceans. Through the penguins, we help the oceans and we help the planet. So this is a global mission that is focused on penguins but is really, really global.

Drew: You have some really big dreams for the Global Penguin Society. I want to inspire the listeners, I know that—I think you threw out the number $6 million would allow you to buy some big land. Talk a little bit about that particular dream.

Pablo: Yeah, so as I think about the next century, I’m thinking that it will be very helpful, and looking at the trend of some of the threats that we see—in the past, we’ve been able to protect many areas in the ocean to create protected areas to protect the food. But now we see a lot of threats on land, and one of our dreams would be to purchase the land where the penguins breed, because it’s the most fragile period of the year of a penguin. They have their eggs, they have the chicks, they have to go through thousands of kilometers, and then come back and feed that chick for months. So if we are able to buy that land, we can secure the persistence of those key colonies for centuries and centuries, you know, and we see that many penguin colonies, many penguin species are adapting to climate change. So they’re changing their distribution. So we have been able to identify some key colonies, that will be the source of the populations for the future, the near future and the far future. So we’re thinking and in some cases, like, there is one colony, specifically one of them, with $6 million, we can buy about 600 along with 600,000 penguins, so it would be like $10 each penguin. So that is one of our dreams. And that would be amazing. And we want not only to protect the land, but also to use that as a center for our education activities for our research activities. And that could be a great model, where we can combine a very efficient eco-tourism model, but also an opportunity for education and science. 

Drew: I’m thinking about you big brands thinking about doing a stadium where you put your name on the stadium, why don’t you put your name on this colony, $6 million, you actually will protect the future of penguins. But what I what I like about the way you’re describing the program, you’re going to where the ball is going to be not where it is, you are helping penguins look down the road. And I think that’s such an interesting conservation notion that you could even do that and that reflects the science that you’ve done and, and watching the situation. So hey, big brand, you could jump up here and be a major contributor, and perpetuate this. And you know, maybe there’s some good, I suspect, there’s some good things for the brand, right? To be able to create this center, that would be something.

Pablo: I’m also thinking about the future because when when we think about our work, we’ll always want to do things that will last after we’re no longer on this planet, it will be for the future.

Drew: We’ve had a really interesting conversation. And I like to ask this question, I don’t do it all the time. But is there something that I should have asked you or that you would love the listeners of the podcast or the watchers on YouTube, to either know about the Global Penguin Society or something that we should have already talked about?

Pablo: I think it’s really important for people that are listening to understand how important each of them are for this planet, you know, because sometimes we think that, oh, we don’t count, we’re just one person, you know, lost in the middle of an ocean of people. But each one of us has a tremendous power to change the future, you know, and we’ve seen that. The actions of the past have created this present. So we are able to have a tremendous impact on this planet. And each one of us has a different role. It could be just like talking to our peers, or our friends, or just like my grandmother did with me, talk to your grandchildren talk about things about conservation, because who knows, maybe you are talking to the next David Attenborough to somebody that will be very important for the future of this planet. And conservation will become key, a key issue to discuss in the future. We can coexist with wildlife. And we need the wildlife to be healthy and to keep us alive. So it could be by talking, it could be by supporting actions like ours by helping penguins. It could be just like organizing cleanup campaigns. It could be like talking to schools about how to avoid single-use plastics. But some things that we’ve seen that were very powerful in companies, sometimes they want to do something and just by checking out the supply chain, maybe you’re buying in your company thousands of plastic items and you can replace them immediately, you know, with one decision in one morning on the board saying, let’s stop buying that we can replace that with that other thing that is sustainable, and that is a huge change and you’re avoiding millions or thousands of pieces that will be forever on our planet made of plastics and maybe eventually. So those are the things I want people to know.

Drew: It’s such a great message is that you can make a difference individually just by doing a small thing but you can also make a difference by doing something big through your company or connecting them with the CMO of Munsingwear or Warner Brothers, you know any of these things you can do to help man and penguins coexist. I think that’s a worthy, worthy cause. Maybe you could help if folks just want to make a donation to the Global Penguin Society, where should they go?

Pablo: On our website, I invite you all to visit because I have amazing pictures and information about what we do. You can download material for free education material in English and Spanish. So it’s globalpenguinsociety.org and there is a donate button. There are multiple avenues there where you can see how to donate online, or maybe you can contact us and discuss another sort of partnership we will be really, really thrilled to partner and welcome you all to our penguin colony.

Drew: I love it. I personally feel quite welcome Dr. Pablo Borboroglu aka Popi, I just want to thank you for spending the time with us today. I found it incredibly educational and inspiring and I hope all the listeners did too.

Pablo: Thank you so much for this opportunity. I love penguins, sometimes I think that God is a penguin. So this is more like a religion sometimes. But through penguins, we reach the soul of the people. As you said before people identify with penguins when you know, people see a penguin they smile. So we need to use that natural connection that people have with penguins to change the perception towards the environment to change our hobbies and our behaviors. And I’m sure lots of people will be willing to make a slight change in their lifestyles to help penguins and the ocean.

Drew: I love it. All right. Well thank you for that very much. Thank you listeners.

Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me. This show is produced by Melissa Caffrey, Laura Parkyn, and Ishar Cuevas. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro VoiceOver is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests and learn more about CMO Huddles or my CMO coaching service, please visit renegademarketing.com. I’m your host Drew Neisser. Until next time, keep those renegade marketing caps on and strong!