Nature's Call to Action: TV ads for the RZSS

RZSS | Edinburgh Zoo | Highland Wildlife Park
EXPLORE

CHALLENGE:

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is a wildlife charity with a mission to create a world where nature is protected, valued and loved. Together with their conservation and education work, RZSS also manage two major attractions in Scotland: Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park.

RZSS engaged us to help develop their brand and encapsulate their mission, vision, and values – not only for Scotland but globally. They needed a brand ad for both traditional TV advertising and online platforms, that could distil their vast and ambitious plans into a compact, captivating format.

The project scope later expanded, requiring us to develop two separate ads for their flagship attractions, Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park. Each content piece had to stand on its own, yet echo the overall brand identity.

The film industry loves to say you should never work with animals or children – but in this project we did both! And we have to say – we’d do it again. Children have a unique view on the world, and animals bring so much joy to our lives. Sure, it can be a challenge, but anything worth doing is going to be challenging!

Royal Zoological Society of Scotland TV Ad

SOLUTION:

Our solution to the brief relied heavily on two core principles: collaborative creativity and meticulous planning. It was paramount to ensure that the RZSS in-house branding team was aligned before initiating any filming.

We had a substantial message to convey in a tight timeframe that included a pressing broadcast deadline and mandatory national TV approval via Clearcast. This necessitated a rigorous but flexible production process, punctuated by clear milestones.

Our solid relationship with the RZSS, fostered through previous collaborations, significantly eased this process. The established trust allowed us to focus on the creative and practical elements of crafting the brand ads, while the RZSS team could return to their vital daily work.

Highland Wildlife Park TV Ad

EXECUTION:

It was essential to collaborate with the RZSS team to tackle challenges around idea generation, scripting, casting, voiceover recording, and devising filming schedules as we had to consider a young cast, staff, and animals.

Close coordination with STV was critical, both for the broadcasting schedule and ensuring Clearcast was consistently updated. This enabled us to greenlight the commercials and preemptively address potential issues before primary production commenced.

We filmed all three commercials simultaneously over four production days, spread across two locations: Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park in Aviemore. For two of the production days, a full crew was present at each location, interacting with the cast and key activities. For the remaining two days, we deployed our self-shooting director to maximise budget efficiency.

The FoSho team managed every aspect, from development and filming to editing and Clearcast submission. This comprehensive approach ensured that no detail was overlooked, and prevented unnecessary complications from interfering with the successful delivery of all three ads.

Edinburgh Zoo TV Ad

IMPACT:

The commercials aired across peak time slots in July on STV broadcast and digital – including slots on flagship programs Emmerdale, A Year On Planet Earth, Paul O’Grady’s Great Elephant Adventure, and local news broadcasts.

STV reaches 3 million adults in Scotland each month – more than any other commercial channel and delivers a peak time viewing share of 22.5%. It’s also the most watched peak time channel in Scotland for the 4th year in a row with a bigger viewership than C4, ITV2 and BBC Three combined!

This type of scale and reach is awesome for brand building. We expect to see strong results both for long-term brand awareness and more immediate ticket sales.

Working with the FoSho crew over a number of projects has helped build a solid foundation of trust that has proved invaluable in streamlining communication and production as well as creating a creative, collaborative working relationship that produces exciting and inspiring content for a range of platforms.

I can’t recommend enough spending the time with production to instil brand values and goals prior to filming. When we are aligned on vision, positioning and tone, which we often are with FoSho, sign-off is quick and easy because we rarely need edits, and the final product is always a perfect representation of what our organisation is looking for.

A huge part of this is the team’s ability to plan detailed shoots that make for productive days and/or evenings. FoSho’s prep and pre-production processes have been a huge help in getting our ducks in a row for shoots within the zoo. With detailed risk assessments and consideration for our wild residents at the zoo, FoSho have never shied away from the difficulty of working with animals – or children!

Christine Moorhouse
Marketing and Membership Manager

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

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