Cute ducks waddling across a road are saving the world one small step at a time.
This video, created by Animals Australia, received 90 million views and almost two million shares on Facebook in 10 days. On first watch, it appears to be a compilation of people being generally awesome helping our feathered friends out, but it is not as straightforward as it seems. The video is part of a campaign to end duck shooting in Victoria and the final message is not cute: "You know what's not awesome? Shooting ducks for 'fun'," it reads.
Lisa Chalk, Communications Director at Animals Australia, told Mashablewith the state election coming up this weekend, the organisation wanted to create awareness about the fact shooting of native waterbirds is still legal in the state of Victoria.
"The video was created as part of a campaign to help convince the Labor party in Victoria to change their policy on duck shooting," Chalk said. "Through this video we wanted to show politicians that overwhelmingly, people want our native waterbirds to be protected, not shot out of the sky in the name of ‘sport’."
Chalk said she wasn't surprised the video resonated with so many people, but the rate it has been shared through Facebook is unprecedented.
"It’s wonderful reinforcement of how people positively respond to witnessing acts of kindness to animals, and in this case, the extraordinary actions taken by individuals to save the lives of ducks and ducklings," she said. "This little video has come to achieve more than its goal. It's no longer a message to one political party on the eve of an election, it's a message to politicians everywhere that being kind to animals is a vote winner."
In a smart play by Animals Australia, who don't have a marketing team but are obviously a bunch of sharp thinkers, the video draws a crowd before highlighting the real issue. Animal cruelty videos are normally shocking, distressing and highlight the issue by revealing the horror. This method is subtle and a pleasure to watch, but allows the video to travel around the world at warp speed.
"We thought the best way to send a message to politicians that Australians want animals treated with kindness and respect was not to show more images of cruelty, but instead to show them the extraordinary lengths people will go to in order to protect these animals from harm," Chalk said. "To remind them that it is human nature to be kind, not cruel."
The video plays on a positive human emotion, and it seems to work a treat. "There are few things more powerful than witnessing an act of kindness, whether to an animal or to a person, and this is exemplified in the extraordinary response to this video," Chalk added.
The most viral Australian ad currently, "Dumb Ways to Die," which has sailed past the 92 million mark, also uses a different tactic to engage the audience. Turning the risk of death by being stupid around trains into an animated, catchy video that is fun rather than serious.
Both videos prove thinking outside the box can help raise awareness for a cause. And that ducks are amazing.
Tags: ADVERTISING, AUSTRALIA, DUCK, DUCKLING, PEOPLE BEING AWESOME, US & World, VIDEOS