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This Elephant Ride Operator Isn’t Quite What It Seems

BBH London, 3 years ago

BBH London’s self-sustaining campaign for World Animal Protection aims to highlight global animal suffering

This Elephant Ride Operator Isn’t Quite What It Seems

BBH London has launched an innovative, self-sustaining global campaign for World Animal Protection, the charity formerly known as WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals). 

Every day, animals suffer in the name of entertainment and right now, thousands of tourists are searching online for wild animal attractions - such as elephant rides or tiger selfies - unaware of the abuse that takes place behind the scenes. BBH was briefed to educate people about unseen suffering endured by wild animals in entertainment, and to inspire people to be a part of the solution. 

The new campaign, ‘Before they book’, targets tourists who are searching for these types of animal attractions online. Crucially, it aims to intercept them right before they book by educating them on the truth behind the scenes.

‘Before they book’ applies Google search to target tourists whilst they are looking for animal entertainment activities. At face value, it appears to serve up what they are looking for - a tour operator company. However, it soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems when the fake tour site,, directs visitors to watch a short film for more information about the elephant riding tours offered. The smiling guide casually explains to the viewer how working elephants are tortured behind the scenes, her smiling face sharply contrasting with the brutality she is describing, before the film ends with the World Animal Protection logo and call to action: ‘Let tourists know the truth beforetheybook’. 

After watching the film, visitors are driven to the microsite where they can view live data about how many people are searching for elephant rides, and how many people have been educated about the reality of animal entertainment by watching the film on the site. 

Visitors to the site are encouraged to donate to help educate others by making sure that the site is the first Google search result they see. Donations fund the Google search campaign so that the more people who donate, the more people can be educated. The tourists who were the issue, now become part of the solution.

The campaign is being supported with paid seeding, YouTube pre rolls, social media activity and PR. It also targets animal lovers, to help spread the word to tourists 

Dominic Goldman, Creative Director at BBH commented: “As an animal lover, I was shocked to discover what actually happens behind the scenes. Images we saw were just too graphic. Most people would look away if we showed them the truth. Instead, we wanted to engage innocent tourists, educating them at the moment they were about to participate in the problem, and allow them to go from a feeling of horror and possible guilt, to one of redemption. Their donation helps fund the search result for our campaign, ensuring more tourists will learn the truth before they book.” 

Collette Collins, Deputy Director of Communications at World Animal Protection said: “We know that many tourists book these attractions because they love animals, so we needed to expose the unseen suffering endured by animals in entertainment.  We briefed BBH to help us find an innovative, impactful way of targeting tourists at the very moment they are about to unwittingly contribute to this cruelty. Only by showing people the truth, can we then invite them to be part of our solution, directly helping to end animal suffering.”


Advertiser: World Animal Protection

Creative Agency

Business Director : John Harrison

Creative: Matt Fitch, Mark Lewis

Creative Director: Dominic Goldman

Digital Producer: Laura Graham

Executive Producer: Krista Nelson

Strategist: Damien Le Castrec

TV Producer: Charlie Dodd

Music and Sound

Sound Design: 750mph


Edit Company: WorkPost

Editor: Saam

Post Production / VFX

Post Production House: The Mill

Production Company

Director: Jeff Low

DOP: Deane Thrussell

Executive Producer: Orlando Wood

Producer: Kwok Yau

Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks UK

Category: Charity , Corporate and social

Genre: Digital