A giant social media case study born at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium.

June 1, 2010


I’m a social animal, are you?

My stint at Hyper Island’s Master Class is officially over. I return home fired up about sharing the experience with my agency and its clients. Social media isn’t news –not by any measure- but moving it up the food chain in most advertising agencies certainly is.

Rather than go into that per se, I’d like to share with you a case study that illustrates beautifully how social media can deliver a product or service unlike anything ever before it and, one should add, for a lot less money than most mass media advertising campaigns.

The client is the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium, the protagonist in the campaign the unborn baby of one of its Asian elephants. I beseech you to watch the video. riveting story in its own right, the use of social media makes it truly exemplary. Yet, it’s not technology that will garner the Antwerp Zoo and its agency, Boondoggle a Gold Lion at Cannes (perhaps even the Grand Prix), it’s the humanity…or should I say zoology.

For the 8-month gestation period of this Asian elephant the people of Belgium were riveted to their computer screens and, ultimately, the zoo. That’s eight months of elephant-sized marketing to a captivated nation, and all of it in real time. No other media could have accomplished this, not for all the Euros in Europe.

We saw and discussed many such cases at Hyper Island but, for obvious reasons, this was the favorite. What every case had in common, however, was a canny use of social media at its core. Done right social media merges beauty and utility in a way mass marketing cannot. With social, people are getting something for their time. And they’re getting it in real time. In this case, they became vested in the story and the zoo. It was as if all these people were “following” a pregnant loved one’s journey, which, in a sense they were.

The results speak for themselves. Over 5% of the entire Belgium population followed the story for nearly a year. And what’s more they still do. Kai-Mook was born on May 17th for all to see. Needless to say, attendance at the zoo went up dramatically. Needful to say, both mother and baby are doing fine.

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5 Responses to “A giant social media case study born at the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium.”

  1. jim schmidt said

    Those Belgians sure have a lot of time on their hands.

  2. Lauren Zeinfeld said

    “We made every Belgian feel a bit pregnant, too”
    This is a great example of how social media should be utilized to create shared experiences that evoke emotion! Because as we see here, it’s emotion that drives action.

    As we continue to make our way into the digital space, many focus on keeping up with the trends and focus on the medium being used, rather than developing a relevant message and/or experience.

    I came across a great video that illustrates the opposite of what your video shared (funny, it’s about zebras: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOcujXpbkhg&feature=player_embedded)

    Social media is an opportunity to host meaningful consumer experiences and the Antwerp Zoo Case Study certainly proved that. Thanks so much for the post!

  3. SRP said

    Thanks for the comments…
    Apologies to all those who struggled to find link to video in my post. Next time I will make it clearer!

  4. […] everyone to experience your brand. Antwerp Zoo did a great […]

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