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Missing Cats: A Roaring Success

Thousands of domestic cats disappear every year and the standard Missing Cat poster is a familiar sight on British streets. But, for Nat Geo, we swapped the traditional moggy for a very different type of feline: Archie, our affectionately known majestic lion.

Mandy Sharp, Tin Man

Founder

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Big cats worldwide are under threat of extinction mainly due to the impact of humans. Lions have disappeared from 90% of their historic range, and nearly half of the remaining range sit outside of protected areas, making them extremely vulnerable to poachers.

The National Geographic Big Cats Initiative was set up to protect and highlight the challenges that face this species.

We needed to draw attention to this cause within the UK. However, Brits are inundated with charitable messages, and often causes which are logistically closer to home, i.e. not Africa, are easier for audiences to engage with. There had also been a lot of animal-related stunt activity already circulating within the media, from lions on a fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square to Iceland’s animatronic orangutan. 

So, we knew our activity needed to creatively cut through the competitive comms landscape yet emotionally resonate with our audience as they went around their daily lives, hopefully making them literally stop in their tracks.

84
pieces of coverage secured to date
21%
people saw the media coverage of the ‘Missing Cats’ poster

Missing Cat, Disappearing Artwork

Thousands of domestic cats disappear every year and the standard Missing Cat poster is a familiar sight on British streets.

We used the familiarity of this medium and created our own ‘Missing Cat’ poster campaign with a difference. It was designed to represent the many Big Cats who unfortunately, once they disappear, will never be seen again.

We swapped the traditional moggy for a very different type of feline: Archie, our affectionately known majestic lion who became the star of the campaign. We then created a poster fit for our king of the jungle which occupied over 260 square feet of ground space in Paternoster Square.

We enlisted credible street artist Dean Zeus Colman to draw our Missing Cat poster. It took over 12 hours to complete and involved over 100 pieces of chalk, eight cans of spray chalk and more than two litres of paint. However, the really clever bit was as the day went on, the poster was slowly and unwittingly rubbed out by members of the public as they walked across the artwork. This created a dramatic and poignant reminder that lions are literally being wiped off the face of the earth and we need to act now before it’s too late.

Archie, the missing cat in question, was also given his own URL - www.savearchie.com - which linked straight to the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative page.

It was important that this activity was more than just a London-based stunt, so a version of Dean’s missing cat poster was recreated and posted on billboards across four key cities; Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.

An intensive media relations campaign underpinned all activity including media interviews with National Geographic Explorer Dr Amy Dickman highlighting her own experiences and her research. A time-lapse film capturing the poster creation and people’s reactions was also used as a key media asset.

Agency:
Tin Man, London
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Guest Author

Mandy Sharp, Tin Man

Founder,

About

Mandy set up Tin Man just over five years ago with a vision to deliver strategic, yet creative ideas with the personal touch that she felt was missing from big agencies. Previously MD of global PR agency Citizen Relations and founder of award-winning experiential & PR agency Brando, she has over 20 years’ experience advising global brands on using communications to boost their bottom line. Tin Man broke onto the scene with a bang and has quickly earned its stripes as a leading consumer agency. Recently named The Drum Marketing Agency of the Year, and the most creative PR agency across EMEA by The Holmes Report Global Creative Index. Mandy specialises in creating campaigns that evoke action and deliver commercially. Her intelligent, creative yet results-driven approach has delivered award-winning campaigns for some of the world's largest companies, including BT, Barclays, Sony, ITV and WaterAid.


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