Richard Branson, Li Bingbing Bite Nails to Protect Rhinos

OgilvyOne Beijing has joined WildAid in its fight against rhino horn consumption in China. Their newly launched, “Nail Biters”, aims at the root of this social behavior, enlisting the talents of celebrities and millions of online users to take to interactive online platforms and combat long-held false constructs on rhino horn’s curative properties.

Rhinos are currently one of the most critically endangered species in the world, and yet poaching of this dwindling population has been on the continual rise since 2008.

Rhino horn is, in reality, made of keratin – the same protein that makes up our own nails and hair.

 
 

The black market is strongly driven by China due to a perception in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that eating rhino horn has potent therapeutic properties.

Li Bingbing biting nails rhino

However, rhino horn is, in reality, made of keratin – the same protein that makes up our own nails and hair. “Nail Biters” calls out this truth and, in doing so, changes the dialogue surrounding the practice.

 
 

“We wanted to find a disarming way to get to the core of the rhino horn myth via A-List celebrities, who’d normally be dead against being seen biting their nails.”

“We believe that constant and diverse awareness campaigns can drive down the value of rhino horn and can help end the rampant poaching of rhinos,” says May Mei, WildAid China Chief Representative.

“We’re launching Nail Biters to help achieve this. As we’ve seen in the past, once we can reduce the demand for rhino horn, the numbers of wild rhinos will increase again. Because when the buying stops, the killing can too.”

The core of the campaign begins with striking visuals of celebrities like Richard Branson, Li Bingbing, Chen Kun, and Jing Boran biting their nails and staring into the camera. It’s a witty way to grab attention, but also one embedded with a startling and easy-to-digest reality – the medicinal and mystical value of rhino horns is merely a piece of traditional mythology.

OgilvyOne then developed a platform where celebrities and regular people can take a collective and personal stand to say no to rhino horn, driving the message on both Weibo and Wechat. For Weibo, the hashtag #Eat your nails, not rhino horn# is amplified through celebrity and Key Opinion Leaders sharing on their Weibo pages, who are encouraged to tag their friends and share their nail-biting photo on a specially designed Weibo topic page, which was created by OgilvyOne to aggregate user-generated content.

For Wechat, OgilvyOne has developed an H5 where people can create their own “Nail Biter” posters, share their nail-biting selfies in moments and also invite a friend to nailbite right next door to their picture.

“We wanted to find a disarming way to get to the core of the rhino horn myth via A-List celebrities, who’d normally be dead against being seen biting their nails,” says Doug Schiff, Executive Creative Director of OgilvyOne China.

“We were also able to harness our digital and social expertise to further engage and involve both fans of the celebrities and those interested in the cause. By effectively changing the conversation toward the root of rhino horn consumption, we can hopefully play a role in saving this magnificent species.”

WildAid, an organization with the mission to end illegal wildlife trade, has made a name for itself in the past by enlisting celebrities like Yao Ming, who famously garnered attention surrounding shark fin consumption. Since the launch of its 2013 rhino program, WildAid has been working to reduce rhino horn consumption in China and Vietnam through high profile media campaigns.

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