M&C Saatchi LA makes multiplatform campaign for San Diego Zoo’s New “Africa Rocks” exhibit

M&C Saatchi turned to Gentleman Scholar, Kyle Lambert, and SCROJO for talent in creating a colorful multiplatform campaign. SCROJO's posters look like 60s psychedelic music posters, and the above billboard looks like an ad for a huge concert.

Nearly two years after the historic groundbreaking ceremony for the largest expansion in its 101-year history, the San Diego Zoo Global launches the Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks exhibit. To introduce the expansive and diverse experience, dedicated to plant and animal species from six different African habitats, M&C Saatchi LA developed creative content for an integrated marketing campaign to engage people of all ages. The “Africa Rocks,” campaign will enjoy a multi-channel “tour,” complete with broadcast, posters, out of home, and social throughout the summer.

“By choosing the name "Africa Rocks" for the Zoo's newest habitat, we knew rock and roll would play an important part in telling our story," says Ted Molter, Chief Marketing Officer for San Diego Zoo Global. "Our collaboration with M&C Saatchi LA and their creative partners brought the spirit, nostalgia and diversity of rock to this amazing collection of engaging content, setting the stage for an unexpected African experience showcasing the Zoo's Rock-stars - penguins, lemurs, baboons, meerkats, crocodiles and leopards.”

“The team was given an incredible creative opportunity with the exhibit’s name ‘Africa Rocks.’ We were inspired to illustrate the diversity of habitats & animals through familiar rock themes and iconography we all grew up with,” notes M&C Saatchi LA Associate Creative Director/AD Ron Tapia. “By implementing a different style for each media and habitat, the “Rock” theme was consistent, but every piece of creative felt both fresh and a little familiar at the same time, appealing to the San Diego Zoo’s wide audience.”

The vibrant design-driven campaign includes a :30 “Africa Rocks” Montage Anthem TV/web spot (above), six :15 spots, radio spots, as well as the gig style posters and other out of home advertising. To produce the campaign, M&C Saatchi partnered with noted designer SCROJO (known for his work with Moby and The Red Hot Chili Peppers) for the gig style posters, which will be wild flyered in select locations, and with illustrator & digital Kyle Lambert (Stranger Things, Super 8) on the print media. Award-winning production company Gentleman Scholar created the animated video campaign, described as “Bleacher Report meets MTV for the Animal Kingdom.”

“Six of the world’s most fascinating animals, six of the most iconic animation styles in history, and six spectacular mini stories with dynamic transitions: That’s definitely worthy of any superlative we can think of,” comments Gentleman Scholar Co-Director Will Johnson.

Each animal’s actions are previewed in the “Africa Rocks” spot; with hero animals presented within their own habitats in the :15s. This gave the Gentleman Scholar designers the opportunity for story depth leading to iconic “Africa Rocks” logo treatments. Bombastic music – from metal to 80’s synth, to sitars and record scratches - sonically transport viewers to various decades and genres in this rock tour of the animal kingdom. The Madagascar forests, to the west african forests to the Ethiopian highlands.

Leave a comment

about the author

hypeworld Hype is a boutique communications agency that provides brand-strategic writing services to creative companies.