WWF's Virtual Bear Sends Real Warning Via Fun Cell Phone Game

Mobile App Brings to Life Challenges Faced by Real Wildlife Caused by China's Rapid Development

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By pointing the phone's camera at the environment, users can watch the bear struggle to cope in strange new habitats
By pointing the phone's camera at the environment, users can watch the bear struggle to cope in strange new habitats
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SHANGHAI (AdAgeChina.com) -- To get Chinese youth more involved in its biodiversity protection program, WWF is engaging young, urban Chinese by appealing to their sense of fun and love of mobile phones.

The independent conservation organization will launch a mobile application that interacts with a user's environment in real time to educate 18-to-29 year-old Chinese in tier one cities about the dangers facing Chinese wildlife habitats.

Once the mobile application's required Shijie Lens Technology software is downloaded from WWF's Chinese web site, www.wwfchina.org and installed on a user's phone, a virtual golden-colored bear appears on the screen. WWF will activate the site on April 27, 2009. (Watch a video about the application on YouTube.com or Youku.com)

By pointing the phone's camera at the environment, such as neighborhood streets and buildings, users can watch the bear struggle to cope in strange new habitats. The hapless bear bumps into walls, trips on stairs, evades moving objects like cars, and is defenseless if someone on camera tries to fight with him.

When the application ends, a WWF message appears on the screen that says, "In real life, it's no laughing matter. 30,000 hectares of wildlife's forest homes disappear everyday. Wildlife's fate is in your hands." It then directs the user to WWF's China Action mobile site to share the tool with friends via SMS, e-mail and popular Chinese blog and social media sites.

The application and marketing campaign were created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Shanghai, and Qdero, an independent digital marketing company in Shanghai. The game is available in English and Chinese.

The challenges facing Chinese wildlife are important, but removed from peoples' daily lives, said Carol Ong, a senior copywriter at BBH, Shanghai. "We brought this idea to life with mobile software that gives you control over wildlife's fate, virtually and for real."

The mobile app will be marketed through online banners, e-mail, SMS, blogs and other social media formats like an upcoming road show, said WWF's communications director in Beijing, Jing Hui. The organization thought it was particularly relevant in the world's largest mobile phone market, and it may also be used in other markets.

China's three mobile phone carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, had nearly 650 million mobile phone subscribers in January 2009, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Chinese are also active phone users. Of 182 million people with web-enabled mobile phones in China, 102 million (56%) use them for web-surfing, according to Netpop Research. More than 10% of Chinese discover web services through the phone first and then migrate to the computer.

The WWF mobile application and marketing campaign were created by BBH and Qdero in Shanghai
The WWF mobile application and marketing campaign were created by BBH and Qdero in Shanghai



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