For five years, London Zoo has been running Adopt-an-Animal Week.
The aim of the week is to raise funds for the zoo by getting the public
to sponsor different animals, and in return they receive a certificate,
a free ticket to the zoo and their name displayed on a thank you
The sponsorship money goes towards the upkeep of the animal throughout
It has been a successful venture for the zoo, but some animals, such as
the hissing cockroach, have failed to find sponsors. In addition, there
were fears that with the event being in its fifth year, there would be
difficulty in attracting media coverage.
To maximise levels of media coverage of Adopt-an-Animal Week, and get
people to call the sponsorship hotline.
The week is sponsored by Yoplait Wildlife, which is involved with
several of London Zoo’s projects. The packaging of the product features
the London Zoo logo and a donation is made for every pack of the fromage
The obvious target for the media relations part of the campaign was the
national media, both broadcast and press.
Radio 1 DJ Zoe Ball, a supporter of London Zoo, was approached to
promote the week. She gave the campaign enormous support, featuring
different animals on her breakfast radio show two mornings in a row. She
also agreed to do a photocall, appearing alongside Honey the bear.
The team working on the campaign approached other organisations to get
involved. The London Taxi Drivers’ Association agreed to be involved,
and also participated in a photocall, this time featuring a London taxi,
its driver and an elephant. A leaflet outlining the adoption scheme was
distributed during the week through London taxis.
London Pride, the tour bus operator, was also involved, visiting local
London newspapers in one of their open-top buses, with staff dressed as
animals wearing price tags.
An unusual step in the campaign was targeting various newspaper
cartoonists to incorporate Adopt-an-Animal into their cartoon
It is estimated that the total audience figure for the press and
broadcast coverage exceeded 24 million. The event was branded
extensively within the coverage.
The targeting of cartoonists paid off, with storylines in Canary Man in
the Saturday Mirror, Mandy Capp in the Mirror and The Gambols in the
Express. The story was featured in the Sun and the Daily Star, Radio 1
and London Today.
While exact figures on the number of adoptions taken up will not be
available until after Christmas, but current indications are that the
response is up on last year’s.
The teams working on this campaign have an obvious infectious enthusiasm
for the subject, which was necessary, since they were working with very
limited resources. The materials needed for the campaign were donated,
as was the time and costs of the various parties who became
Their enthusiasm, coupled with the solid support the team received,
overcame the problem of the ’so what’ factor which can dog long-standing
Client: London Zoo
PR Team: In-house and Lexis PR
Campaign: Adopt-an-Animal Week
Timescale: October 1998
Budget: pro bono