BBH London has launched a new campaign for World Animal Protection that targets tourists who are searching elephant rides online – by creating a fake tour operator’s website.
“Before they Book” is an online initiative for World Animal Protection, the charity formerly known as WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals).
The campaign is aimed at tourists who are searching for animal attractions online, such as elephant rides. The “self-sustaining” campaign applies Google search to target tourists and, at face value, appears to serve up what they are looking for - a tour company.
At a glance, the site titled “Authentic Elephant Rides” looks like any other tour operator’s site offering the likes of jungle expeditions and waterfall treks. However, it soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems.
The site plays a short film for more information about the elephant riding tours offered. The smiling guide casually explains to the viewer how working elephants are tortured behind the scenes before the film ends with the World Animal Protection logo and call to action: ‘Let tourists know the truth’.
“Crucially, it aims to intercept them right before they book by educating them on the truth behind the scenes,” says BBH London. “The tourists who were the issue, now become part of the solution.”
Visitors redirected to "Before they Book" are encouraged to donate to help educate others by making sure that the AuthenticElephantRides.com site is the first Google search result they see. Donations fund the Google search campaign so that the more people who donate, the more people can be educated.
“As an animal lover, I was shocked to discover what actually happens behind the scenes,” says Dominic Goldman, Creative Director at BBH.
“Images we saw were just too graphic. Most people would look away if we showed them the truth. Instead, we wanted to engage innocent tourists, educating them at the moment they were about to participate in the problem, and allow them to go from a feeling of horror and possible guilt, to one of redemption. Their donation helps fund the search result for our campaign, ensuring more tourists will learn the truth before they book.”
Last month, World Animal Protection launched the world’s first ever 3D print petition in the Netherlands alongside Dutch agency FHV BBDO. Each time a name was added to the petition, five printers were set in motion at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, and a small piece of a life-sized 3D elephant was printed.
Collette Collins, Deputy Director of Communications at World Animal Protection added: “We know that many tourists book these attractions because they love animals, so we needed to expose the unseen suffering endured by animals in entertainment.
“We briefed BBH to help us find an innovative, impactful way of targeting tourists at the very moment they are about to unwittingly contribute to this cruelty. Only by showing people the truth, can we then invite them to be part of our solution, directly helping to end animal suffering.”