A successful social media campaign by WWF, to spread awareness and raise funds to save endangered animals
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), is the world’s largest nature & wildlife conservation NGO. Formerly named World Wildlife Fund, it was founded on April 29, 1961, with a motto to build a future in which people and nature coexist in harmony. They are non-activist and non-confrontational in their approach to environmental issues. Instead they work closely with communities, governments and businesses to find solutions for various local and global ecological problems. Their proposals are known to be innovative, collaborative and based on scientific research and thus have had a tangible impact.
The organisation has more than 5 million supporters worldwide with a presence in over 100 countries. It has invested around US$11.5 billion in close to 1300 conservation initiatives in the last 50 years. Their projects have spanned across the 7 continents with concentrated efforts made in oceans, forests, and freshwater ecosystems. Among other issues, WWF speaks for endangered species, raising funds to save them.
The need to reach out…
The urgency to save endangered animals reached a peak in 2015 when some species of gorillas, turtles, leopards, elephants, dolphins were predicted to go extinct by the year end. WWF is running several initiatives for these animals like the Sumatran rhinos, Indian tigers, polar bears and their primary source of funds are the supporters. Individuals and bequests comprised 54% of the total revenue for WWF in 2014 (Wikipedia). It was vital for them to raise funds and maintain continuity of their conservation work. Thus came into existence the #LastSelfie (hashtag last selfie) campaign.
Rolling the campaign on Snapchat
For the #LastSelfie, WWF collaborated with Snapchat, a popular messaging app for smartphones. A Snapchat user can share short videos or photos (in other words, share ‘Snaps‘) with other approved contacts just like any other messaging service. But here’s the catch, the Snap self-destructs after 10 seconds of being viewed. A user can take a screenshot while the message is playing to save it for later but the actual message is lost forever. Snapchat was launched in 2011 but has gained immense popularity in the last 2 years among the 18-24 year olds. It has over 100 million daily active users from around the world.
Images that spread like wild fire
On April 9, 2015, WWF Denmark launched the #LastSelfie campaign on Snapchat. The campaign was designed and run by Denmark agency, UncleGrey, and Turkish agency, 41? 29!. Snapchat users could participate by following the WWF Turkey, Denmark, and Italy accounts.
Photographs of well-known endangered species were sent out on Snapchat with captions like “don’t let this be my #LastSelfie” or “in 7 seconds, I’ll be gone forever. But, you can still save my kind #LastSelfie”. Before disappearing, the image asked viewers to help by sharing, adopting an animal, or donating through SMS. The heart warming visuals of gorillas, pandas, tigers with the gutt wrenching text touched people’s emotional chords and the photos quickly spread like wild fire. The message was clear…. Just like these Snaps, endangered animals in real life will disappear in front of our eyes if we don’t take action today!
Why the collaboration was successful?
Besides capitalising on the popularity of the “selfie” phenomenon, the campaign found a relevant way to use Snapchat. Snaps are not generally used in branded campaigns as the message life is short and social sharing is limited.
The clever use of the time-bound life of Snapchat’s messages, illustrated the fast disappearance of endangered animals. This created an urgency to act amongst it’s viewers.
According to Tuba Ugur, Communications Officer for WWF,
“Since Snapchat has a limited display of images, you have to take a screenshot in order to save the #LastSelfie. At this point, we ask and expect the images to be shared on Twitter with their quotes.”
(Published by ClickZ in an article authored by Lisa Lacy)
After a week, screenshots were posted by 40,000 twitter users and were seen by 120 million users, meaning 50% of all monthly twitter users were exposed to it.
Some of the key marketing questions that this campaign answers…
Who is the target audience? The young millennials or Generation Y
How to deliver the message? Via a mobile app popular with the target audience, Snapchat
How much time does it take to convey the message? Less than 10 seconds
Is the content captivating? Anthropomorphizing the word “selfie”, which has a high viral quotient
What is the outcome? Engaging through emotions which leads to increase in donations
Impact of the #LastSelfie
This is an outstanding example of a powerful NGO collaborating with a popular messaging app to bring about social change. The #LastSelfie was frequently listed as the best or most popular social media campaigns of 2015. It won the 2015 People’s Voice Award from Webby Awards in the Social Media Campaigns category.
Because it made a social statement that people could stand with, it led to increased donations. In just 3 days after launching, WWF reached their monthly donation target. They effectively engaged their current and future supporters and creatively explained the reason for their existence!
Image Credits: World Wide Fund