After a 12 month study to understand the Asian psyche Breaking the Brand launches their first advertising campaign to stop the demand for rhino horn.
To stop the demand for rhino horn is a huge task. First we must gain some understanding of the Asian culture, the consumer, and what motivates them to buy. Not only rhino horn, but buy products in general. Once we have a grasp of this the best avenues to reach targeted consumers can be identified.
A twelve month study by the Breaking the Brand project explored who buys rhino horn in Asia and why.
The research shows…
The user base has NO affinity with the animal. Appealing to empathy by showing pictures of (poached) rhinos is NOT effective.
The user base does not really care about the efficacy of the product, they care about the status and prestige that consuming genuine rhino horn bestows on them in the eyes of their peers
Similarly, an investigation into the primary user group has established only 2 possible motivations to stop consumption:
1) A perceived negative impact on the health of the user
2) A perceived negative impact on the status of the user (in the eyes of his peers)
In a nutshell what Lynn and her team discovered was that people in Asia have no connection, no feeling towards most animals. You may recall the recent trend to buy little live turtles sealed and made into key rings or the long standing consumption of domestic animals like cats and dogs.
However, before we condemn the people of Asia, let us look at how we in our own culture treat certain living species. In the US, for example, at Easter day old fluffy chicks and cuddly little bunnies are sold to generally live very short lives.
The folks at Breaking the Brand learned that graphic images of dead or dying rhino do not change behavior in Asia, what however did was 1) a potential threat to health and well-being; and 2) falling out of favor with peers or the mere perception thereof.
Lynn received this feedback from a Vietnamese businessman (during a test advert campaign)… this is what he said:
“When I saw the adverts I told a friend whose child has cancer; I know they were using rhino horn. My friend was shocked and wondered why the people of Viet Nam weren’t been told about rhino horn poisoning. The family said that they will finish the piece of horn that they have, but they won’t buy any more as they don’t want to risk giving their sick child poisoned rhino horn.”
Whilst this is just one story and we didn’t hear it directly from the family it does provide a glimmer of hope for the rhino. Like anywhere in the world, in Viet Nam what you hear from your peer network has an impact on what you buy and do. If this family are talking to their peer group about their new concerns regarding using rhino horn, our hope is that over time this massage will spread, including on social media. Similarly, we hope that people, such as this family, may talk more openly to local conservation groups and the media about their decisions to stop buying rhino horn.
Shunned by Peers
The following video is being used effectively to curb the use of tiger body parts. The notion is that it may well work to end rhino poaching.
Currently, all Vietnam domestic and international flights will carry this advert continuously until 31 December 2014. With about 300 daily flights
the airline flies to 21 destinations domestically and to 28 internationally these adverts will be seen by Vietnam’s wealthiest citizens, the target group for the campaign.