"Hi there, I have good news to bring. IFAW’s Public Service Advertising (PSA) has won the Excellence Science Publicity & Education Award 2020. Hurray!…” a contact from Beijing MTR called me excitedly.
The moment we hung up, I couldn’t wait to share the news with my dear colleagues. This award was voted by the public, which meant our messages and ideas had been well accepted. It’s really great encouragement for the IFAW team, and the best New Year gift I could wish for.
IFAW created the PSA during its rebranding, focusing on IFAW’s Beijing Raptor Rescue Center (IFAW BRRC), a leading center for animal welfare and rescue. Through the PSA, we try to communicate with the audience on how to rescue raptors in a scientific way and how to protect our shared home. We crafted catchy slogans by employing 'homophonic pun’ to express the solutions, which successfully attract people’s attention and ask them to ponder on the deeper meanings.
The PSA was aired on 10,431 LED screens in Beijing Metro stations (Line 4, 14, 16 and Line Daxing), sending messages to hundreds of thousands of commuters between December 28, 2019 and February 14, 2020. Those metro lines connect residential blocks, hi-tech parks in China’s Silicon Valley, universities, and tourist spots, which greatly helps us reach white-collars, engineers, college students, and tourists.
Debunking myths and changing attitudes
IFAW has been creating PSAs throughout the last decade to debunk myths, change attitudes, reduce wildlife demand, and call for public actions in animal protection.
In 2007, IFAW’s survey found that 70% of people in China didn’t know the fact that elephants were killed for their tusks. So we launched a PSA, which applied the form of dialogue between a calf and its mother to demonstrate the miseries suffered by elephants being killed for their tusks. The PSA resonated deeply with the Chinese public and they took immediate action.
The impact leads an ivory carver to put down his knife, an ivory trader to expose the bloody trade to the media, and the Education Ministry to adopt it into the National Entrance Examination, which alone reached 9 million college applicants. All PSA campaigns balance cultural sensitivity, while still being socially motivating, allowing broad coverage that has translated into support valued at tens of millions of dollars every year.
In recent years, IFAW has worked with tech giants to precisely target audiences online. For example, if people search key words of wildlife parts and products on Baidu (Google’s counterpart in China) or iQIYI (China’s YouTube equivalent), they will be immediately targeted with IFAW PSA videos, alerting them of the highest penalties against wildlife consumption.
Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to express my sincerest thank you to all the supporters who are helping us fight against wildlife crime - whether that's by reporting illegal wildlife products online, spreading awareness, or changing personal consumer behavior. We could not make this difference without you!
-Sabrina Zhang, IFAW Communications Manager, China