Long regarded as an obligatory delicacy on the menus at fancy banquets and weddings in China, shark fin soup is on its way to losing its “luxury” status as conservation organizations work to protect the world’s shark population.
A new PSA campaign released by Ogilvy & Mather in partnership with the Hong Kong Shark Foundation and WildAid aims to “rebrand” shark fins as a product of cruelty and environmental degradation.
For the ad, Ogilvy took footage of fishermen hunting sharks captured by the Hong Kong Shark Foundation, and used CGI to replace the fishermen with a bride and groom to depict the method in which the fins are cut off the sharks before they are dumped back into the water. The gruesome ad ends with the young couple kissing while covered with blood, stating that for a typical wedding feast in Hong Kong, 30 sharks have to die.
According to the Hong Kong Shark Foundation, 143 shark species are currently listed as either critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable, with sharp reductions in numbers due to overfishing within the past 15 years. Thanks to high demand for shark fins, the foundation says that more sharks are being killed annually than is needed to sustainably reproduce. As a result, the governments of mainland China and Hong Kong have both banned shark fin soup from the menus at government events.
While conservation efforts have been followed by a decrease in consumption of shark fin soup in Hong Kong, organizations have their work cut out for them in eliminating demand. A recent survey by the Hong Kong Shark Foundation of 375 restaurants in Hong Kong found that over 98 percent put shark fin soup on their Lunar New Year menu this year.
The new Ogilvy ad is targeted at the younger generation, according to the firm, and aims to take away the glamour and luxurious image of shark fins.
“We are enormously proud of our partnership with Hong Kong Shark Foundation and WildAid, and are 100 percent supportive of the important work they do,” says Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong Chief Creative Officer Reed Collins. “Our PSA will challenge the traditional practices of Hong Kongers and ask them to step up for the sake of sharks, who are a critical part of the world’s precious marine ecosystem.”
Chief Creative Officer: Reed Collins
Creative Director/s: Roy Yung, John Koay, Matthew Nisbet
Associate Creative Director: Spring Liu
Producer: Jacqueline Ho
Managing Partner: Samson Choi
Account Coordinator: Neville Tam
Production and VFX: TREACLE
Director: Tom Mitchell
Producer: Josie Mitchell
D.O.P: Oliver Merz