One rhino is killed for its horn every day in South Africa. However, it’s difficult to make South Africans realise the full horror of this situation; not only because we have become desensitised to the issue, but also because many of us feel powerless to make a difference. Lowe Bull set out to challenge this mindset with an online campaign that gets people involved while debunking myths.
The video, featured on YouTube, features a group of ordinary South Africans who decide to donate their hair and nails – which, like rhino horns, consist primarily of keratin – and encourage other South Africans to do the same.
“We didn’t want to create another shock campaign, even though the fact that the world’s rhino population may be killed in our lifetime is shocking – especially since the healing properties of the horns are, in fact, entirely mythical,” comments http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUGtrLB_k_U http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUGtrLB_k_UKirk Gainsford, Executive Creative Director of Lowe Bull Cape Town. “We wanted to inform the public of the realities of rhino poaching, while creating an opportunity for South Africans to do their bit.”
The campaign has certainly succeeded in helping to raise awareness: since its launch in May, it has generated more than R200 000 worth of free media space, including coverage and interviews in the Cape Times, 50/50, Goodhope FM and 567 Cape Talk. The video clip – available at http://youtube.com/watch?v=iUGtrLB_k_U – spent two weeks as the most highly viewed social cause link on YouTube, and enjoyed similar success on Twitter, with the four videos made to promote the campaign scoring over 4 500 hits in total. Added to this, Stoprhinopoaching.com, the organisation which Lowe Bull aims to promote through the campaign, has recorded an increased number of hits since the video was launched.
Gainsford points out that this impact is all the more noteworthy given that the video was made with an extremely low budget. “It’s thanks to people like Gordon Midgely at 7 Films, who invested their time and effort at no cost, that we’re getting this message out,” he says.
Going forward, Gainsford continues, the plan is to get more people talking about the video, and acting on it. “We recently collected hair and nails from visitors at the Porter’s Market in Steenberg, Cape Town, and Stoprhinopoaching.com have been invited by Jacaranda 94.2 to do a collection day at primary schools. We have also inserted 2 000 envelopes in the Cape Times, inviting people to send us their hair and nail clippings.”
Ultimately, he concludes, the point is to break through people’s blasé attitudes about the topic, and get them talking – and acting – once more.