Most organizations try to save endangered species by featuring cute images of colorful parrots or friendly orangutans. Rainforest Trust, on the other hand, is going in another direction by focusing on the habitat, not the wildlife.
Developed by the Darling Agency, the organization's fundraising campaign is disguised as real-estate advertising. Rather than the standard donation request, viewers are asked to “buy”endangered rainforest “at just $10 per acre,” which is said to be what the Rainforest Trust typically pays.
(The Trust buys rainforest land deemed critical to select species’ survival.)
Of course, donors don't actually receive the title to any land.
To continue the real estate theme, ads in the campaign depict single locations - remote hardwood, waterfront and mountaintop property. One “omnibus” ad is designed to mimic the luxury real estate classified page seen in The New York Times Magazine.
To help underscore the typical real estate bombast, all of the headlines feature at least one exclamation point.
The campaign runs in print and out-of-home, including transit, digital outdoor and in-mall in a number of big markets including New York, Chicago and Seattle. The media buy is valued at approximately $1 million, although it will cost just $200,000 because most of the media is being donated.
This initiative represents a new direction for the non-profit organization. “This is their first advertising. But even so, it’s a new target market," says Jeroen Bours, CEO, Darling Agency, New York. "They came to us asking about an ad for National Geographic. We said, ‘why preach to the choir?’”