The demand for illegal and endangered wildlife products needs an ever greater focus. Some animals have become so valuable for their parts that the cost of their 24/7 security is becoming prohibitive.

In such instances, when there is limited time for awareness raising and education, brand breaking for behaviour change strategies are needed. Similarly, while education and awareness raising can be broad and appeal to the community, when immediate behaviour change is needed then the focus should be on the actual users of these illegal/endangered products.

For the behaviour change message to be effective with the actual user it needs to elicit an immediate emotional response in the person; to do this they are generally controversial. A perfect example of this is the anti-fur campaign of the 1980s by Lynx (now Respect For Animals); they were using behavioural economics intuitively and long before it was formally studied. These campaigns were targeted for being sexist, which they are not. They simply target the people wearing fur coats and, in the main, they are women.

Lynx 1a The customer didn’t like being called a ‘dumb animal’ Lynx 2 LM The customer didn’t like being called a ‘rich bitch’
Lynx 3 Again the advert’s focus is the customer and NOT the animal Respect for Animals We have gone from a ‘rich bitch’ (right for 80’s) to a ‘spoilt bitch’ (for today)

So how can we apply these techniques to other current threats to wildlife? The approach used in the Breaking The Brand rhino horn campaign could be applied to issues such as canned lion hunting or habitat loss caused by palm oil plantations.

Canned Lion hunting advert

Palm Oil Advert