For World Lion Day, National Geographic asked the public to "High Five. Give $5. Save Big Cats" - to create a worldwide virtual high-five chain using social media and the hashtag #5forBigCats to raise awareness across social media about the plight of big cats in the wild and funds for big cat conservation. Our hope was to raise $20,000.
To increase awareness and build participation across our social media communities and the world leading up to World Lion Day (August 10), we launched this campaign two weeks prior with the hashtag #5forBigCats. To reach our objective, we encouraged social media users to submit photos of themselves giving us a virtual high five with the hashtag #5forBigCats and then donate $5 to National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative. This was shared on all of the National Geographic social media accounts (fans totaling more than 100MM).
We provided clear instructions to make participation simple; consistent messaging conveying why big cats in the wild need help; suggested, easy to share, Facebook and Twitter posts featuring the hashtag #5forBigCats; had a custom donation page featuring the campaign where people could donate to Nat Geo's Big Cats Initiative; and compelling campaign artwork featuring National Geographic photographs of big cats.
In addition, we did celebrity and network outreach to engage those with large social media followings who are also passionate about big cat conservation. Celebrities from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Leonardo DiCaprio to Ashley Judd, Kat Dennings, Debra Messing, and Paul Stanley showed their support on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Three days into the campaign, Cecil the Lion was killed. People around the globe turned to National Geographic for their reaction to this tragedy and to ask "how they could help." We had news coverage of the death and also tied this into our campaign, providing people with something to "do," a way to help protect lion and other big cat populations.
During the two week time period we received 27,000 virtual high fives (and mentions of our hashtag #5forBigCats) from 86 countries. We raised more than $200,000 for National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative to support on-the-ground conservation efforts in Africa.
This post-campaign Thank You video was shared on social media and features the high fives shared from around the world.
In addition to the celebrity support we received, we also had several media mentions including:
We also saw support from several National Geographic funded explorers, including: Dereck and Beverly Joubert (founders of the Big Cats Initiative) Shivani Bhalla, Laly Lichtenfeld, Jessica Cramp, Shah Selbe.