WWF promoting respect for wildlife

Low-cost ads send strong message

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BEIJING--The World Wildlife Fund has adopted innovative marketing methods in China to help raise awareness about endangered species in a country where they commonly are viewed more as a pricey entree than noble beasts.

“Hunters,” the first of two outdoor executions by WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather, Beijing, with media planning and buying from WPP’s MindShare, was created to raise awareness of the WWF in China as well as remind people that they can take a personal stand to help protect wildlife.

Aimed at China’s rising number of educated, middle class citizens who have a basic understanding about environmental issues, the campaign featured posters of hunters shooting at animals on opposing outdoor prints. The animals have real bullet holes around them in the print as if they are on a firing range, beside the tagline, “The only thing standing between their survival and extinction is you.” The execution will run in the central business district of China’s first tier cities through the end of 2005.

“Environmental issues are often overlooked at the expense of progress,” said Nils Andersson, executive creative director at O&M in Beijing. “This campaign aims to take the subject to the heart of the problem, passersby can literally stand between the man with the gun and the animals, in a dramatic symbolic gesture of defiance.”

WWF also installed a polar bear ice sculpture in Beijing’s Xi Dan shopping district to coincide with a major environmental conference in the Chinese capital. As the days of the event passed, the sculpture melted in a symbolic illustration of global warming. The objective was to draw attention to the catastrophic effects of global warming, specifically the impact rising temperatures will have on the polar bears.

The TV spot, also by Ogilvy, borrowed the approach of home shopping programs to show China's remaining pieces of land, water, forest and last, endangered species, on the auction block, to remind viewers that China is developing at a speed never before seen, but in many ways, expansion is achieved at the expense of the nation’s environment and many of its endangered animal populations. The tagline says, “Act now, or it’ll all be gone.” The commercial is accompanied by flyers passed out retail-style on streets in front of shopping areas and an online banner ad that borrowed its look from Ebay.

"Since Chinese people are more and more consumed with consumerism, a retail landscape was chosen for the advertising campaign in order to make a statement about how we can’t think of nature simply as a commodity. The underlining message was to wake up and think more about the serious consequences of this rapid development," said Mr. Andersson.
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