Boomtown/Wilderness Foundation launch Rhino horn Demand Reduction campaign in Vietnam

JUNE 29, 2016

Rhino horn consumption in Vietnam has surged and grown to be the world’s largest recipient of both legal and illegal rhino horn from South Africa. It’s with this knowledge that the Wilderness Foundation approached Boomtown to create a campaign to influence the youth market of Vietnam to reduce future demand.

“The South African government announced earlier this year that 363 rhinos have been poached in the first four months of 2016 in South Africa alone,” comments Cheryl Reynolds, Wilderness Foundation marketing and communications manager. “We are proud to be working in Vietnam and are encouraged by the positive response we have received.”

Between 2014 and 2015, around 15,000 Vietnamese youth from 12 international schools in Ho Chi Minh City were introduced to the crisis of rhino poaching and invited to enter the Wild Rhino competition. Out of 1,5000 entries, 22 young Vietnamese won a trip to South Africa. Their first ever rhino experience, they came to South Africa to learn about wildlife conservation and species protection. Inspired by what they saw and discovered, our competition winners are now committed ambassadors for the Wilderness Foundation’s cause.

Following workshops and think tanks, it was through these insightful ideas and suggestions from our ambassadors that with Boomtown, the Vietnam Be my Hero youth awareness campaign was born.

“We had to extract ourselves from our Western world and minds and use consumer and cultural insights from Vietnam to create a campaign to work in the region,” comments Boomtown MD, Andrew MacKenzie. Using peer-education, the campaign features the messages and thoughts of these youth ambassadors on posters, leaflets and other marketing materials strategically provided and positioned throughout schools. Engagement and interaction is further enabled through the Wild Rhino website and social media platforms.

The rationale
What if we could influence a generation of young Vietnamese relating to the demand reduction of rhino horn? A generation that will grow up and influence not only their peers but also their parents and family.

If the youth of Vietnam adopt the cause against the use of rhino horn, we have the ability to build authentic, credible ambassadors that the Vietnamese people will be influenced by and it allows them to feel like an integral part of the solution.

By using a team of ambassadors from the Wilderness Foundation Forever Wild campaign within print advertising, posters, online and word of mouth Boomtown with Wilderness Foundation and its partner Peace Parks Foundation, can spread the message to prevent the purchase and sale of rhino horn.

The second element of the campaign uses the strong comic book culture that exists in Vietnam amongst the youth. There is always a hero who it central to the storyline who challenges evil and fights of crime. It is this cultural relevance and who the target market can positively connect to.

The Wild Rhino Initiative forms part of a broader five-year rolling implementation strategy aimed at curbing the demand for rhino horn in primary user countries such as Vietnam.