‘Save Our Tigers' strikes an emotional chord through Stripey.

The campaign could have been driven by hard facts (there are merely 1411 Royal Bengal Tigers surviving in India as against 40,000 at the turn of the last century), but it may not have evoked such a response. Save Our Tiger campaign urges us to look at the threat to tigers through the eyes of Stripey, the cub. Stripey is hungry, concerned and awaiting his mother, who's fallen prey to poaching.

Save Our Tiger campaign by Aircel, in partnership with World Wildlife Fund, calls for immediate action to protect the national animal. The campaign went on air on January 30, has a dedicated site (www.saveourtigers.com) where the service provider's brand ambassadors actor Suriya, cricketer Mahender Singh Dhoni and footballer Baichung Bhutia insist that we roar with them for the cause. A group dedicated to Stripey on Facebook has more than 1 lakh fans (the numbers swelled each day and as of Saturday, the group had more than 1,12,000 fans) and more than 3000 tweeple following Stripey on twitter. A meet held in Delhi on Valentine's Day urged people to show their love for Stripey.

The idea of having an emotional campaign stemmed from Lion King, says Shivanand Mohanty, creative head, Dentsu Communications, the ad agency that designed the campaign. Remember how our eyes welled up watching Mufasa breathe his last trying to protect Simba? “We were considering many ideas and felt this would work,” says Mohanty. Since shooting in tiger reserves is not permitted, the agency used stock footage for the ad.

For once, celebs remain in the background and therein lay the campaign's success. Says Mohanty, “Celebrities have been used thoughtfully, to create a sense of urgency and drive home the point that each one of us can do something.”

Long-term campaign

Now that the awareness has been created, the agency, along with Aircel and WWF, is working on the next phase. “It's a long-term campaign,” says Rahul Saigal, chief marketing officer, Aircel. “Whether it is children wearing Save Our Tigers badges to school or youngsters discussing the issue, the campaign was designed to encourage public participation. The website informs how people can help monetarily or by visiting parks,” he adds.

In Hyderabad, the WWF chapter has been receiving calls in support of the campaign. “A plan of action will be drawn up. We are considering having a meeting where people can share their thoughts on how they can help save the tigers in AP,” says Farida Tampal of WWF, Hyderabad.

Aircel is not the first cellular service provider to highlight environmental issues as part of its corporate social responsibility. Idea has been doing various CSR activities for some time, the latest being urging people not to waste paper. Abhishek Bachchan, as a tree, endorses the go green campaign. Cell phone major Nokia is inviting users to exchange their old handsets, promising to recycle electronic waste and plant one tree for each old handset. The ‘green' bus stop in Begumpet is part of the Idea campaign.

In the West, companies perceived to be environmental friendly stay in the good books of consumers. Though we haven't had such precedence in India, perhaps this is a step in that direction, even if you were to cynically dismiss these campaigns as CSR activities that merely aim to earn goodwill.

More In: Society | Metroplus