Wild Africa Fund brings to life the threat of illegal poaching

The campaign, created by Grey London, highlights the threat of poaching to endangered species.

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


A new campaign for the Wild Africa Fund, created by Grey London, uses balloon animals to signify the threat of illegal poaching to endangered species. 

A series of simple yet emotive films shows the plight of elephants, lions, turtles, and pangolins which are all under threat of extinction due to extensive hunting. The campaign warns: ‘Once they’re gone, they’re gone.’ 

Each film shows a balloon animal modelled on one of the species, floating in a studio. While a voiceover explains the threat to the species, the balloon animal is destroyed. Each is destroyed by a different threat such as a gun, a net, a trap and a machete to show the various cruel fates. Once destroyed, each shredded balloon animal falls to the floor showing the fragility of the animal it represents the threat they face from illegal poachers. The films end with the harrowing line: “Once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

For the creative work Grey London was inspired by the work of Japanese balloon artist Masayoshi Matsumoto, who granted the agency permission to recreate his work using CGI. The CGI was executed by Bose Collins and music was composed by cellist Brandon Collins and produced by Baxter House. 

“We wanted a campaign idea that was simple but with a huge emotional impact so people would wake up to the threat of wildlife extinction. The balloons are a metaphor for the ease with which child-like innocence can be shattered, allowing a distressing reality to be brought to global attention,” explains Grey’s Ben Clapp.

The campaign premiered across Africa on broadcast, print and social media channels to mark  World Endangered Species Day on the 19th May. Spots will also be released to coincide with significant dates through the year such as World Turtle Day on the 23rd May, World Zoonoses Day on the 8th July, World Lion Day on the 10th August and World Elephant Day on the 12th August. 
Through an emotive yet simple creative the campaign aims to harness a network of well-known ambassadors, broadcasters, in-country partners and social media channels to create one of Africa’s largest ever awareness programmes. It aims to encourage African citizens to protect and promote their unique wildlife heritage and to drive positive support for wildlife conservation. 

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