Category A05. Media / Entertainment
Name Company Position
Mandy Sharp Tin Man Founder
Elly Kestenbaum Tin Man Head of Planning and Strategy
Paul Valentine Tin Man Creative Director
Clare Hindley Tin Man Head of Client Services

Why is this work relevant for PR?

This campaign used earned media to create high impact noise and awareness. It was a visual and engaging PR activation across five cities and via traditional and digital media relations.


January is a perennially busy month for charity campaigns, and all ask the nation to support their plight for the year ahead. The National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative works to save big cats in the wild and wanted to create a PR moment to engage Brits with its cause. Not only did we need to create cut through, we also needed Brits to engage with an issue 7,000 miles from home. No easy feat. National Geographic briefed the agency to support its not for profit Big Cats Initiative, which was founded to halt the demise of big cats globally. Specifically, it wanted to:  Drive awareness of National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative through buzz and media coverage  Spark conversations and inform audiences that National Geographic is making a difference with its Big Cats Initiative  Drive traffic to the Big Cats website

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

We needed a clever and visually impactful approach to highlight the demise of Big Cats in Africa and make the cause relevant to busy Brits. Enter our Missing Cats campaign; a dramatisation of the familiar missing cat poster but with a twist. This campaign cleverly swapped the domestic moggy for Archie - a majestic lion representing one of the big cats the Initiative is working hard to protect. The supersize poster was hand-drawn using chalk and therefore slowly and unwittingly erased by members of the public as they walked over it - a poignant reminder that lions are being rubbed off the face of the Earth. We also spread the message far and wide with a poster campaign in four cities across the UK. The missing cat in question, Archie, was given his own URL www.savearchie.com. The URL linked straight to the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative page.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

The audience was broad. We needed a mass appeal idea to secure mainstream media and make people sit up and take notice. However, our focus groups told us that the Big Cats Initiative lacked relevance. There are many issues closer to home that need attention; big cats on the plains of Africa feel very far away and is just one in a long list of issues to care about. But we also knew that giving big cats ‘a face’ and ‘a personality’ would make the issue resonate. We needed to emotionally engage audiences to create impact. So how could we highlight the problem in a memorable way and bring the issue from the expanse of the Savannah to the streets of the UK? Our strategy was to use a common ‘very British’ visual trope to drive significance, making the Big Cats Initiative relevant to animal lovers all over the country.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

Now you see me… The London chalk poster was installed overnight on the 28th January 2019. Time-lapse footage was shot of the installation. Missing cat posters were recreated and posted on billboards across four key cities – Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. This took the campaign beyond the Capital and helped drive awareness nationwide. Now you don’t… On the morning of 29th January, the barriers were removed and members of the public were allowed to walk over the poster until the picture of Archie was totally rubbed out. This, again, was captured by time-lapse filming and photography. The ‘mane’ media event The edited film and a suite of pictures were then issued and sold in to media. The media strategy comprised a hard-hitting news story and broadcast outreach using National Geographic explorer Dr Amy Dickman who talked from personal experience and add an emotional touch to the research.

List the results (30% of vote)

Did we create buzz and generate significant media coverage? Yes. - 84 pieces of coverage in one week including 6 national titles appeared (The Times, Daily Mirror and The Sun etc) - 25 TV and radio interviews were secured with BBC news show Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Scotland, BBC Radio Leeds and BBC South Today - 5 international pieces of coverage reaching Greece and Russia Did we drive awareness of National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative? Yes. Independent post campaign research showed: - One in five (21%) people saw the media coverage of the ‘Missing Cats’ poster - 85% of those who saw the coverage are now aware that National Geographic is working to save big cats in the wild Did it spark conversations and inform audiences that National Geographic is making a difference with its Initiative? Yes. The research showed: - Nearly 40% increase in web traffic to Big Cats Initiative webpages, mostly via www.savearchie URL, during the campaign - Having seen the coverage, 72% of people would be more likely to learn more about supporting National Geographic’s efforts to halt the decline of big cats And was the client happy? “When the idea was first pitched to us we were bowled over by just how creative the concept was. The team worked with endless enthusiasm in the implementation and have landed some brilliant results to raise awareness of our Big Cats Initiative. Just fantastic!” Kirsty Howell, Head of PR, National Geographic