Every year, around 150,000 minks are bred and raised on Belgian farms. For their fur. Locked in small, dirty cages, most of them develop neurotic and aggressive behaviour before being gassed and skinned after 7 to 8 months before ending up as jackets, shoes and other fashion accessories. The sad thing is, however, that most people who buy fur don't even realise that an animal died just to satisfy their tasteless “tastes”.
Animal rights organisation, GAIA was therefore not just looking for ways to convince people to stop wearing fur, but also to convince the government to ban mink farms and stop the cruel exploitation of these animals once and for all.
What we did.
Our aim was to get maximum exposure with minimum resources. And sometimes, all it takes to generate strong interest from bloggers and journalists is a strong visual. And if it’s strength you want, who better than Belgian strong man, Jean-Claude Van Damme to be the face of the campaign?
Reminiscent of those traditional action hero movie posters, the image depicts JCVD holding a skinned mink in his arms beneath the title "The Victims". And fittingly, the campaign was launched in the car park of Belgium’s biggest cinema complex, Kinepolis Brussels exactly one day before World Animal Day on 3 October. A press release along with copies of the poster were distributed to the press on the day of the launch.
In the days that followed, this 180m2 poster for a movie that was never made travelled around the country, sparking conversations and controversy in and around Belgium’s 6 largest cities and increasing awareness nationwide for the cruelty that takes place on mink farms.
What we got.
The campaign instantly generated a massive wave of national press coverage, followed by a spate of articles published in regional press coinciding with the tour of each major city. GAIA’s strong but simple message was thereby conveyed through national and regional newspapers, magazines and radio broadcasts.
The CEO of Pelsland, Belgium’s largest fur distributor, even helped extend the lifespan of the campaign by attempting to make a parody of it. They succeeded only, however, in fuelling public awareness for the issue and putting even more pressure on the powers that be to take action.