Detroit Zoo’s new marketing campaign highlights wildlife conservation, sustainability efforts

The Detroit Zoological Society has launched a new marketing campaign titled “The Zoo That Could,” focused on highlighting the zoo’s recent wildlife conservation, energy sustainability and education efforts.

Poetry, art and animated videos are used in the campaign, which will also include print, digital and social media elements, according to a release.

“This campaign changes the conversation and explains what we do and why we do it,” Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Society executive director and CEO, said in a statement. “We hope it will educate and inspire the community to think of their zoo in a whole new way.”

Southfield-based advertising agency Doner developed the campaign for the zoo pro bono, and has worked with the zoo for 34 years. Animation was done by New York-based creative agency Psyop. The campaign has been in development for about nine months, said Patricia Mills Janeway, communications director for the Detroit Zoological Society.

“The zoo has a great image already,” David DeMuth, president and co-CEO of Doner, toldCrain’s. “People love it; they set record attendance numbers. [The goal] is to enhance their image in a different way so people appreciate all the work the zoo does behind the scenes or around the world with animal welfare and green initiatives.”

Two videos are already up on the campaign’s website, The other two videos will debut later in the campaign. The animated 60-second clips are narrated by a child and each video focuses on one of four areas the zoo wants to highlight: conservation, animal welfare, sustainability and education.

“We wanted it to stand out, and we thought the visual approach and the poetry, it’s sort of like viewing it from a child’s eyes,” DeMuth said. “Telling those impactful stories that way will get people to pay attention.”

The organization will spend $250,000 on ads on Detroit TV stations that will run starting Monday and through July. The print and digital elements will run through September.

The zoo announced in April that it will become the first in the U.S. to use a biodigester. The $1.1 million project will convert more than 400 tons of animal manure into compost and capture the methane byproduct to help power the Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex. In another energy conservation effort, the zoo said in December it would switch to 100 percent renewable electricity from wind farms to power its Royal Oak campus. The zoo also stopped selling plastic bottles of water last year.

The Detroit Zoological Society, which operates the Detroit Zoo and the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, was named 2015 Best-Managed Nonprofit by Crain’s. The Royal Oak location hosted nearly 1.5 million visitors last year and is home to 2,400 animals.

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Author: Blake Froling

I am currently the Sports Director at ESPN UP in Marquette, Michigan, where I host a daily sports talk show called The SportsPen. I am also the play-by-play voice for Westwood High School football and boys and girls basketball. I graduated from Michigan State University in December 2016 with a degree in journalism.

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