Advertising with a conscience: Rhino poaching

The only thing most of us lose daily is time. That and the battle for a smaller waistline. Something Africa loses more of daily is the Rhino. The rapid increase of poaching has reached epidemic proportions on the continent and, without awareness, the Rhino population doesn’t stand a chance against the selfish onslaught by big business, for big business.

Advertising has a powerful voice that, when used to its full potential, can do its bit to help turn the tide. These powerful print ads from Johannesburg based agency, Stick, prove just that in their “Save the Rhino” campaign. Straight-talking and effective, these images are powerful enough to be supported simply with the tagline: “Nothing we do will ever bring them back.” Small on Copy. Clever with imagery. Big on story. That’s a powerful, memorable combination that can go a long way to communicating what you need to say without actually ever having to say it.

We’re a funny lot us humans. We take, take, take and then behave with shock and horror when things are finished. The sugar, the milk, the toilet paper… If you don’t put more in the kitchen or the bathroom, well then yes Sparky, you’re pretty much screwed. The difference here is, once these majestic animals are gone – they will be gone forever. So take that popular Asian belief that Rhino horn cures everything from colds to impotence, and work harder to find something else. Why not try Echinacea or Viagra? And for those that hunt these animals for their ornamental or fashion opportunities – don’t even get me started.

Did you know?

Seven endangered rhinos were killed in southern Zimbabwe from early December to mid-January. 2010 was an extraordinarily bad year in Southern Africa as 333 Rhino’s were poached – nearly three times as many that were lost in 2009. Another five more rhinos were killed in the first weeks of 2011. These numbers are staggering. From 21 000, how many more reports like this must we read before that number dwindles to triple, double and then a single digit?

Springbok, Giraffe and Zebra don’t need to play the part of the Rhino. God knows they have enough to worry about all on their own. Let the Rhino play the part of the Rhino and, if you can, get involved – before it’s too late. Because it really is true: Nothing we do will ever bring them back.

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