Saturday, 4 July 2015


As I have mentioned in previous posts, I teach a class called Animals and the Arts through Canisius College's Masters of Anthrozoology program. Every week we discuss new topics and take on some fun and creative assignments over the term. We are now at the midway point of the class and this week we start to delve into advertising. Students in my class each take turns leading discussions and creating thought-provoking questions to get a dialogue going in the group. This week one of the questions put out by our discussion leader was for the rest of the group to find an advertisement that featured other than human animals and talk about the strategies that were used to captivate their audience. It's always fun for me to partake in responding to the questions and I embrace these challenges! I thought it fitting to share my own chosen ad which was the WWF's snapchat conservation campaign.

This ad tied in with our week's reading by Jodi Berland Animal and/as Medium: Symbolic Work in Communicative Regimes and it is also a wonderfully evocative example to kick off the new page Love Wins starting at Beautiful Creatures this month that will feature love across species. In the same fashion that Alphabeasts' featured less popular animals in need of a spotlight and conservation aid Love Wins will do the same as we work our way through the alphabet... 

WWF #LastSelfie Campaign
Now this is why I thought it relevant to share my ad choice from my class's discussion. Within the same vein as Berland’s work, the WWF campaign focusses on the way in which we use technology to connect with each other by powerfully emulating the snapchat platform as a metaphor for species extinction. The soft yet hauntingly repetitive background music that plays has an underscoring sense of urgency while they stream their words to bring to light concepts of short-lived moments with which we can identify like our reflection in a mirror. In the brief trailer, the viewer is led through the dance of these metaphors which equally stir the subconscious feeling of our own momentary presence on this planet. It is very subtle and nuanced, but it plants that seed so that the viewer will bond and internalise that message and thus connect on a deeper level with their ensuing appeal. At the midpoint is where they deliver their tagline that will resonate with our contemporary culture “Don’t let this be my #LastSelfie” framing the image of a primate within a cell phone. This is something that a younger population can definitely identify with, and they are the target audience for this campaign. The WWF is reaching out to a new cohort of advocates for their conservation efforts and have done so in a very potent way. The concept of selfies and transience is one that is prevalent in today’s youth culture and this ad connects those ideas in a way that won’t alienate or critique but rather use the idea as a manner of empowering their audience and creating a call to action.

This ad is a reminder to the strength of our love of wild nature. I was not quite ready to feature the first of the Love Wins animals today and I hope to create this same connection to the species that I will feature in my new series. Until then, I hope you look forward to meeting Mox and Mialy, a faithful duo separated by distance...

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