Wildlife: Fighting Urban Homelessness

Toronto Agency Creates Campaign to Save the Habitat

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The Canadian moose has an unusual ally in the fight to preserve its natural habitat: an advertising agency by the name of Holmes & Lee.


Earlier this month, the Toronto-based shop launched a pro bono, out-of-home campaign featuring wild animals in various states of urban homelessness -- a moose sprawled across the sidewalk, a fox hiding inside a cardboard box and a polar bear resting on a park bench -- to educate Canadians about threats to the country's wildlife habitat and persuade them to take action to help preserve it.

CBS Outdoor donated the billboards for the Toronto campaign. Each directs viewers to a website, reasonpartners.org, where they can learn more about how pollution and human behavior have affected the wildlife habitat and also how to get involved with one of six featured charities. Some of the billboards also use Microsoft Tag High Capacity Color Barcode technology so that smartphones can "snap" the barcode and go right to reasonpartners.org.

"The site is a media-based aggregate and filter dedicated to helping nonpolitical charities reach their audience," said Holmes & Lee Creative Director Peter Holmes. The 15-person agency chose the six charities for the wildlife habitat campaign based on research about the ability of each to do the most good.

The campaign, which Mr. Holmes valued at more than $100,000 in media costs, came together in a couple of weeks. The wildlife habitat seemed a good cause to start with, he said, because Canadians are passionate about the environment. He said the agency is already looking to raise awareness of other issues, including freedom of speech.

Eventually, Mr. Holmes said, he hopes the site will be able to accept donations on behalf of charities named there -- all of which will be nonpolitical -- so that those donating won't be harassed by organizations soliciting more donations.