Wildlife Conservation Society

96 Elephants

Take a stand for elephants. When we first heard that 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa, we could hardly believe it. Originally planned as a seasonal effort, the 96 Elephants campaign has since been extended far beyond its original timeline. A custom Rails CMS, paired with a strong yet flexible brand identity, has allowed the campaign to grow its content and audience over time. WCS gave us substantial creative freedom on the project, providing direction only in the form of a campaign name and goal. We then developed not only a unique campaign platform, but also created the original content and brand identity that helped shape a longstanding and successful campaign.

  • Challenge

    Spread awareness to spark advocacy action that protects at risk elephants.

  • Solution

    Create a movement with global reach that educates and inspires visitors to take down the international ivory trade.

  • Results

    In 3 months we collected over 100,000 signatures pledging their support for a ban on ivory products worldwide.

How we did it.

  • Brand Identity

    We began by forming a strong brand identity for what would become a longstanding WCS campaign.

  • Building Understanding

    We immersed ourselves in research detailing the crisis facing elephants, to develop content that could tell a story that would inspire readers to take action.

  • Compelling Storytelling

    Starting with only the idea of “96 Elephants,” we created an emotionally gripping story that draws in audiences with varying levels of passion and exposure to the tragedy of ivory poaching.

  • Designing for Impact

    We found the perfect imagery for the narrative by pouring over photographs sourced from the field, which were provided by WCS from the renowned photographer Brent Stirton and Getty Images.

  • Development

    A custom Rails CMS was the key to this custom campaign site’s flexibility and expandability, years after launch.

  • With little provided content, and a goal of elevating WCS with a memorable campaign, we ran with the challenge of creating a story from scratch that could draw readers in, and prompt action through pledge signing. Without an established brand, we conducted an exercise in brand strategy that gave us the 96 Elephants campaign identity.

  • Our color palette was inspired by the subject matter, including earth tones for foundational elements, and pops of khaki and red for focus and action. Photographs were treated in black and white and a subtle warm tint to mimic elephant skin, while visualization of sensitive topics were handled delicately through dramatic illustration.

    Creating a Film Grain Effect with CSS3
    Doug Avery, Front-End Development Director
  • Originally planned as a 6-month campaign, the success of the site prompted WCS to ask us to expand and grow the platform. Our extendible Rails CMS made this technically possible, but we had concerns about introducing the provocative brand to new audiences such as children and educators. We have since successfully evolved this campaign to target audiences of all ages, creating a powerful conservation resource useful for all.