In my last post, I celebrated one of my favourite PR campaign’s, the Elephant Parade. While I warned against the dangers of over exposing a new idea, I was particularly drawn recently to what had been done in a similar way with painted donkeys.
What I had not quite been prepared was was quite how much of an industry there now was in ‘painted animals’ as a channel of communication in PR. Towns and cities using art in the template form of the painting of a sculpted animal by celebrities, artists, designers and local opinion leaders, to do something for their profile and reputation. In the process, they also do something for the profile (and fundraising) of a charity, usually related to the animal involved.
For Southampton, try rhinos, supporting three charities.
For Norwich, try gorillas, raising money for the Born Free Foundation, and Break.
For Bristol, try local canine celebrity, Gromit. Here, the idea brought 1.8 million people out to see the sculptures, is estimate to have brought £75 million to the city, and raised £2.3 million for the Bristol Children’s Hospital – as reported by the BBC.
Berlin has its bears, promoting peace and tolerance on its behalf around the world, and children’s charities at home.
And cities around the world compete for the right to host the annual ‘Cow Parade’ – this year stopping off in both Valenciennes in France, and in Hong Kong.
The technique has become such a phenomenon that there are now even dedicated specialist animal casting companies, offering animals including goats, buffalo and horses too, ready to be painted.
A great example of PR increasing our involvement with an issue by promoting the public’s following of a city’s animal trail, initiatives such as painting workshops for children, and ultimately, the auction.
A great example of engaging opinion leaders and celebrities in designing their own versions of the particular animal.
A great example of linking the cause to the tactic involved – and embedding the technique in, and benefiting from sense of ‘place’, or local pride.
I’m looking forward to the animals continuing to stream on board the PR ark!