‘A trumpet call to action’: Grey London and WildAid bid to end ivory trade

Year of the Elephant movement aims to make 2016 the year more elephants are born than killed

February 8th marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, with millions of people around the world coming together to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Monkey. But this year, with momentum building to finally stop the illegal ivory trade and end the years-long poaching war on elephants, creative agency Grey London and conservation group WildAid are calling on the world to help make 2016 the first ever Year of the Elephant.

An estimated 33,000 African elephants are killed every year for their tusks. But, with international criticism mounting, world leaders have finally charted a course to ending the crisis. In the past six months, both the United States and China — the world’s largest ivory market — have agreed to phase out commercial ivory sales, while Hong Kong — whose government has previously been a fierce supporter of its large domestic ivory trade — has vowed to ban the local ivory market.

In order to grasp this historic opportunity, WildAid is calling on anyone who cares about elephants to #JoinTheHerd by wishing their social media friends and followers a ‘Happy Year of the Elephant’. That’s “Xiàng Nián Kuài Lè” (See-ANG nyan qua-ler) in Mandarin. Supporters are also encouraged to change their social media profile photo through the generator at YearoftheElephant.org.

A selection of posters commissioned by Grey London from artists all over the world.

The #JoinTheHerd social media movement today launches internationally in both English and Mandarin. World famous ambassadors who have today ‘joined the herd’ on social media represent six continents and include Sir Trevor McDonald, Lupita Nyong’o, Alikiba, Yoko Ono, Lang Lang, Maggie Q, Yao Ming, Ian Somerhalder & Nikki Reed and Li Bingbing.

A selection of posters commissioned by Grey London from artists all over the world.

This week’s social media blitz is the first in a year-long series of international campaign activities for Year of the Elephant, including celebrity events, rallies and design and photography competitions to celebrate elephants and ensure that the world’s illicit ivory trade is shut down — once and for all.

WildAid CEO Peter Knights says: “Finally there is a glimmer of hope for the world’s elephants, with the United States, China and Hong Kong committing to end the ivory trade. But there is much work to be done. Year of the Elephant is a trumpet call to action: we are here to ensure that promises are kept and elephants are saved.”
A selection of posters commissioned by Grey London from artists all over the world.

Year of the Elephant was devised by WildAid and Grey London, in partnership with Grey China, Ogilvy PR, Teein and Lovesocial in New York. It calls upon the worldwide closure of ivory markets and is asking the US, China and Hong Kong to provide specific details and a detailed timeline for the phasing out of ivory sales.

On Sunday February 14th the whole world celebrated Chinese New Year. On the streets of Beijing, London, New York and other major world cities, people fell in love with the elephant and showed their support for a total ban on ivory. Our posters, designed by artists all around the world, were an impactful expression of the cause and complimented the cultural celebration. The elephant found the monkey to be his greatest friend.


Client: WildAid

Creative agency: Grey London

Chief Creative Officer: Nils Leonard

Creative Directors: Ben Clapp & Dave Monk

Senior Art Director: Andy Lockley

Creatives: Dominic Butler and Liam Riddler

Head of GreyWorks: Dee Butler

TV Producer: Angela Glover

Production Assistant: Josh Clark

Global Planning Partner: Aisling Ryan

Digital Strategy: David Anyetei, Sam Gibbs & Perry Nightingale

Managing Partner: Nick Dutton

Business Director: Sarah Quinn

Account Director: Lucy Kozak

Account Manager: Florence MacKenzie

Head of PR: Veronique Rhys-Evans

Senior PR Manager: Ollie Dearn

New Business Manager: Paul Wentworth

Senior Creative Producers: Shaun Musgrove, Martin McGinn &

Gemma Hose

Designers: Beatriz Coias & Yassa Khan

Calligrapher: Yizou Zhao

Illustrator: Olivia Knapp (Agent: Folio Arts)

Photography Production Company: Hogarth Studio

Production Producers: Sam Black and Bruce Gill

Photographer: Paul Jeffries and Alan Harford

Artworker & Photographer: Jeremy Wilson

Design Director: Steve Davies and John Patrick Racle

Universal Music Publishing: George O’Brien & Itamar Shafrir

In addition to the above…

Campaign Film

Production Company: GreyWorks

Editors: Marvin Alvarez & Matthew Newman

Production Producer: Pedro Pinto, Callum Johnston & Anita Atwal


Production Company: Love Social

Project Manager: Laura Pillings