Social media roars: Cecil the lion

It seems each week we have further evidence of the power of social media campaigns, whether it’s for a product or service, or for the greater good. The “marketing” of the recent illegal hunting and killing of Zimbabwe’s Cecil the lion by an American dentist is one of the most major examples of the swift results of social platform use.

Yesterday it was announced that Delta Air Lines would no longer allow the transport of animal hunting trophies, according to a story in The New York Times. Delta had been slower than its competitors to react to the tsunami of outrage directed at sport hunters and the businesses that support and enable the pastime. Air France, KLM, Iberia, IAG Cargo, Qantas and Singapore Airlines had taken steps when the Cecil story first broke to ban carrying poaching kills trophies.

SumofUs.org has helped. The Brooklyn-based petitioning organization pressed for changing cargo policies, saying that “Airlines and other large travel corporations would be foolish to ignore the public reaction to the killing of Cecil the lion.” An online petition by Change.org added to the pressure.

These airlines were fairly late to act. A similar ban was enacted back in April by South African Airways, with Emirates, Lufthansa and British Airways following shortly thereafter.

For those of us who create social media campaigns, these are extraordinary times. Perhaps the greatest successes here are those tied to cause marketing, where the hearts and minds of consumers are engaged to act. A valuable lesson when applied to the marketing of other things, indeed.

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Direct Choice Inc. is a full-service direct marketing agency that has worked with national and regional brands in a wide variety of vertical markets. In addition to this blog, you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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