The National Council of SPCAs was founded in 1955 to bring uniformity to animal welfare legislation and establish national standards. Today it is the oldest and probably the largest animal welfare movement in the southern hemisphere. Typically, the SPCA movement has been associated with the welfare of domestic, suburban pets. The scope of operation goes way beyond this. It includes monitoring the treatment, as well as protecting, of farm animals, working animals, wildlife, as well as managing special outreach projects.
The SPCA National Council also educates and advises the public on animal issues. One of these is to discourage the trade in exotic, foreign species to be taken into captivity as pets or exhibition animals. The conditions under which non-indigenous creatures are captured and held results in a great deal of stress and suffering. Many die in transport. The animals that survive can also be carriers of foreign viruses and disease. The simple truth of the matter is that animals are best left in their natural habitat.
In highlighting the SPCA’s broader relevance and activity, Blast Brand Catalysts chose strategically to focus on the issue of keeping these exotic animals as pets. There was likely to be added curiosity in these ‘glamorous’ creatures, which would likewise drive interest to the newly revamped nspca.co.za website.
The context of “There’s no place like home” has emphatic logic. The message of how absurd it is to take an animal out of its natural environment is clear and unequivocal. In fact, the campaign resonated so well that several mainstream and niche journals donated prime space to it.
SPCA National Council Public Relations Officer, Christine Kuch, points out: “Like any brand, we need to stay consistent in our focus. We have strategic drivers in our communications that remind our many stakeholders and supporters of our moral and legal obligations as custodians of all animals.”
As part of a multi-targeted drive, the “No place like home” message was key in creating a viral, social awareness. Comments Creative Director of Blast BC, Angelo Beck: “The SPCA is engaged exactly as we would any other client. There’s considerable thinking and understanding that goes into a campaign, even before we get creative. The objective is simply to get us all to stop and think. You shouldn’t need to be well-educated or well-heeled to empathise with a humane regard for, and treatment of, all animals.”
The psychology of getting public ‘buy-in’ for the SPCA’s many causes also dictates that adverts do not use sensationalist imagery, no matter how real or forceful the message. Experience has shown that the public, more often than not, will deflect a visual assault by turning the page or changing stations. “Reality is best left to the imagination,” adds Beck. “The mind’s eye can be far more compelling. Being suggestive rather than blatant will also likely result in a more engaging idea.”
The Blast BC campaign is another important step in establishing the SPCA movement as a body that speaks and acts universally for the welfare of animals.