Even ugly animals deserve protection

Who: World Animal Protection and Leo Burnett Toronto.

What: New advertising featuring ugly animals (like, really ugly) to raise money for the protection of endangered species, not just the cute ones.

When & Where: The ads are running now nationally as PSAs on specialty TV (English only), as well as online video through social/digital and owned channels. Out of home (paid and donated) will roll out in Toronto next week. The campaign will run until the middle of September.

Why: While World Animal Protection has been completely focused on protecting animals for decades, this campaign serves as a fundraising reminder that endangered species still need to be protected during times of crisis.

“We know there is already a lot going on in the world. In addition to the difficulty of caring for animals during COVID-19, we need your help now more than ever to be ready to protect all the vulnerable animals from further crisis —even the ugly ones,” says the WAP website.

How: The “ugly ones” is the playful hook for a serious issue. Creative features a handful of animals—including warthogs, pangolins and proboscis monkeys—that nobody would describe as cute and fuzzy.

The droll voiceover by Rick Shurman in the videos and headline copy on the display ads talk candidly about the animals’… let’s say special, visage, with the reminder that even ugly animals need protection, too.

“We tend to only care about cute animals, like koalas and dogs,” said Leo Burnett’s senior vice-president and creative director Steve Persico in a release. “But World Animal Protection helps thousands of species and thus needs more support. Turning ugly animals into the stars of our campaign was a humorous way to let people know.” The creative drives directly to a donation page on the WAP website.

Quote: “All animals deserve protection, but when disasters strike or help is needed, certain species tend to rise to the top and become unofficial mascots. It’s easy to see why: they’re adorable. But there are millions of species that need our compassion.”—Elizabeth Sharpe, communications director, World Animal Protection. 

David Brown