While most animal zoos claim to play an important role in the survival of endangered species, in reality they are an entertainment business. This results in cost-efficient animal housing, with enclosures far too small to provide in an animal’s needs to live a happy life. Therefore a great number of animals in captivity develop ‘zoochosis’, which is in fact a mental illness caused by depression. This results in repetitive body behaviour such as head bobbing, body swaying or running the same path over and over again. Bite Back wanted zoo visitors to look past this apparently funny behaviour, and look at the core of the issue.
We used raw footage of animals with zoochosis displaying repetitive behaviour, and uploaded them as Instagram Stories. At first, these videos looked as yet another cool ‘Boomerang’. But with very simple copy we educated people that these weren’t funny videos, but in fact was real footage of depressed animals in captivity.
We took the popular trend of posting Boomerangs (short videos looped over and over again) on Instagram, and reached people with an unexpected and very serious message within a visual and entertaining online world.
Furthermore, despite the very restricted budget of the client, we could geotarget Belgians specifically in and near zoos, so they experienced our message while standing face to face with animals in captivity.
The footage of the animals suffering from zoochosis was posted without editing or looping it. So at first glance it looked like looping Boomerangs, but when you realised they weren’t, you’d see the subtle variations of the animal movement or camera shake of the one-take video.
However, we’ve split the footage into three frames so the viewer would first see just the animal, and only discovered the story by tapping right and making their way through the full reveal.