Pick of the Week: Born Free plays to captive audience

Animal welfare charity Born Free uses our lockdown experiences to make us feel uncomfortable about wildlife in captivity.

We had to tolerate it for only a few weeks, but they have to endure it for their whole lives: that’s the point being driven home in this two-minute animated spot from animal welfare charity Born Free.

Highlighting the plight of animals in captivity, "Creature discomforts" uses the voices of people who powerfully explain the emotional toll that lockdown has taken, while drawing a parallel with caged animals.

Created by Aardman Animations in a clever nod to its classic electricity board campaign of the 1980s, "Creature comforts", the ads are the antithesis of the warm, cosy homes and family environments portrayed in the earlier campaign.

Instead, a ring-tailed lemur in a tiny cage with her infant woefully explains that she “can’t even remember” what she misses, while a solitary, aged circus elephant tells of her loneliness, and an orangutan describes the “social castration” and “alternate reality” of being locked up.

Voices of couples, parents and the isolated elderly, telling of their experiences during the Covid-19 lockdown, are used to create empathy from viewers around the issues of confinement: it’s thought-provoking.

In the final seconds, viewers are powerfully urged – to the sound of clinking chains – to remember that: “For us, lockdown was temporary; for some animals, it’s for life.”

The spot closes with a call to action for £3 donations to global wildlife conservation efforts, following a dip in contributions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brand Born Free
Agency Engine
Creatives Pete Ioulianou and Ollie Agius
Director Peter Peake
Production company Aardman Animations


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