In-depth Report of USAID Wildlife Asia | Social Behavioral Change Communication
Elephant ivory is among the top items illegally traded worldwide, especially in Southeast Asia. USAID Wildlife Asia came to Trends Digital to create a campaign that aims to deter women from buying and wearing ivory jewelry and accessories and reduce the social acceptability of ivory products.
Research conducted by USAID Wildlife Asia showed that those who desire ivory and tiger products are generally affluent, well-educated, and have stable occupations.
In Thailand, a USAID Wildlife Asia consumer research found that there are an estimated 500,000 ivory consumers and 250,000 tiger consumers. What is concerning is that three percent (around 750,000 people) intend to buy and use these products in the future. Ten percent (an estimated 2.5 million people) and seven percent (around 1.8 million people) find the use of these ivory and tiger products socially acceptable, respectively. The research also revealed that the belief held by some that the power of elephants and tigers can bring good fortune and ward off evil is another driver of demand for derivative products from these endangered animals.
The “Beautiful without Ivory” campaign was implemented to help counter illegal wildlife trafficking, in collaboration with Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP). The campaign aims to reach and engage those who desire to buy and use ivory jewelry and accessories because of its perceived beauty. The key thematic message was “True beauty does not need ivory; ivory is never beautiful and never acceptable.” The call-to-action message was “Stop buying, stop using products made from ivory.”
Five of Thailand’s top fashion influencers with large social media followings conveyed this message through a new 45-second video featuring Cindy ‘Sirinya’ Bishop, Supermodel, and Actress; Pichaya Soontornyanakij, Celebrity Chef; Jareyadee Spencer, TV Host and Entrepreneur; Praewatchara Schmid, Top 10 Miss Thailand Universe 2019; and Varine Charungvat, Content Creator and Celebrity Photographer.
The campaign included three media rounds and channels activated cross-channeled through digital ads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, online astrology forums, fashion magazines, electronic billboards outside shopping malls, and in MRT stations in Bangkok.
In observance of World Wildlife Day, USAID and DNP launched the new “No Ivory No Tiger Amulets #ไม่พึ่งเขี้ยวงา” campaign. It is the second phase of the campaign targeting spiritual beliefs, which aims to reach and engage those who desire to buy and use ivory and tiger parts and products motivated by their perceived beliefs in the power of these products to bring good luck or prevent harm. This campaign strategy, based on testing among consumers of these products, is to question these beliefs, not directly state that these beliefs are wrong.
The campaign’s key message was “How can amulets made from elephant ivory and tiger fangs protect you, when these animals cannot even protect their own lives? จะมั่นใจได้อย่างไร ว่าวัตถุมงคลจากช้างจากเสือ จะปกป้องโยมได้ ขนาดชีวิตของเขาเอง ยังไม่รอดเลย” It is communicated through a slice-of-life story depicting a situation that raises doubts about these perceived spiritual beliefs. The key message was delivered by the well-known Buddhist Dharma Teacher, Venerable Maha Sompong Talaputto.
Dissemination of campaign messages was distributed through digital media, online astrology forum, billboards, and on tuk-tuks within locations accessed by amulet buyers and traders in order to reach the target audience.
At the end of the campaigns, we carried out an online Monitoring and Evaluation survey to evaluate the Beautiful Without Ivory and No Ivory No Tiger campaigns implemented in Thailand. The evaluation objectives were to assess: 1) level of recall of the SBCC campaigns among target audiences, and 2) changes in the desired attitudes, perceptions of social acceptability and intention to use ivory and tiger parts and products among those exposed to the campaigns.