Wilderness Foundation Promo, Case study YOUTUBE INTERVENTIONS by Ogilvy Cape Town

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Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market South Africa
Agency Ogilvy Cape Town
Director Ian Chuter
Executive Creative Director Chris Gotz
Art Director Prabashan Gopalakrishnan Pather
Copywriter Sanjiv Mistry
Editor Ric Shields, Craig Glenday
Released August 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Charity and Not for Profit
Executive Creative Director: Chris Gotz (Ogilvy Cape Town)
Copywriter: Sanjiv Mistry (Ogilvy Cape Town)
Art Director: Prabashan Gopalakrishnan Pather (Ogilvy Cape Town)
Agency Producer: Iris Vinnicombe (Ogilvy Cape Town)
Social Media Manager: Chris Rawlinson (Ogilvy Cape Town)
Director: Ian Chuter (Platypus Productions)
Editor: Craig Glenday (Platypus Productions)
Editor: Ric Shields (Platypus Productions)
IT: Nicky Van Der Walt (Platypus Productions)
Sound Engineer: Stephen Webster (Theworkroom)
Voice Artist: Adam Behr (Adambehr.com)
Footage Supplier: Rhino Footage (Greenrenaissance.co.za)
Account Manager: Dylan Ferguson (Ogilvy Cape Town)
Account Manager: Greg Tebbutt (Ogilvy Cape Town)
Account Manager: Scott Maxwell (Ogilvy Cape Town)
Media placement: Digital PR Strategy - YouTube (Online) - 25 August 2011

Summary of the Campaign

Rhinos are on the brink of extinction. Forever Wild, a non-profit, wanted to raise awareness of the issue and get people around the world to sign their online petition against rhino poaching that would be presented to the US Congress.

The insight: many people say they’re too busy to help with serious causes, yet they spend hours searching online for frivolous stuff like stupid cat videos. Our strategy was to target this untapped market rather than “preaching to the converted”.

The idea: YouTube Interventions. For 2 weeks we downloaded each day’s most frivolous trending videos, edited them to include our insightful message, then re-uploaded them with the same titles and tags as the originals. Our Trojan Horses caught red-handed people who were deliberately searching for frivolity, and convinced them that their time was more valuable than they realised.

Why is this a PR idea? The campaign was driven by the goal of attaining (for no cost) branding and messaging space in a medium that ordinarily needed to be paid for (YouTube in-video ad banners). By piggybacking on other people’s watchable and valuable viral content, we gained a share of their audience with no paid media whatsoever.

With $0 spent, the campaign was viewed by over 300,000 people on YouTube. Over 11,000 Facebook 'likes' were gained, and rather than the expected 20% increase, signatures on the anti-poaching petition increased by almost 400% - enough to present a strong and vigorous case to the United States Congress later in 2012.

The Situation
Rhinos will be extinct in just a few years due to the escalating illegal international trade in rhino horn - fuelled by a growing Asian middle class that now can afford rhino horn (a traditional medicine that was previously out of their price range).

The Goal
Forever Wild, a non-profit initiative with $0 to spend, wanted to raise global awareness on how critical the rhino poaching situation is, and get people from around the world to sign their online petition that would be presented to the US Congress.

Our goal was to minimise costs yet maximise the reach of a call-to-sign message. Rather than 'preaching to the converted', we wanted to actively engage a new group of people who were unaware of the seriousness of the issue.

The Strategy
Our strategic insight was that many people often claim that they’re too busy to spare a minute to help contribute to a good cause, yet those same people seem to have lots of time to search for and watch things like silly cat videos online.

We realised that frivolous videos gain attention. Frivolous videos go viral. Instead of making our own viral video (hardly a science or a sure thing), our unique PR tactic was to piggyback our message on other people's frivolous videos that were on the verge of trending, gaining a share of their massive audience with no media outlay at all.

The first step was to put in place a basic editing template at the start of the campaign. Thereafter, each morning for the 2-week duration of the campaign, we searched for that day’s most frivolous videos that were on the verge of trending.

In just 15 minutes each morning, we edited and uploaded our YouTube Intervention version of these videos, giving ourselves every chance of surfing a potential viral wave.

Overall, through an efficient and cost-effective process, we made 65 impactful guerrilla films that accounted for a substantial return on investment.

Documented Results

The campaign was viewed by over 30, 000 people on YouTube and over 11,000 Facebook 'likes' were gained (a good indication of people’s engagement with the idea). With no other communication out there, rather than the expected 20% increase, signatures on the anti-poaching petition increased by almost 400%, from all across the globe - enough, according to Andrew Muir, the CEO of Forever Wild, to present a strong and vigorous case to the United States Congress later in 2012.

And all this with $0 spent on either media or production.