Reminding Hong Kong of the beauty of its treasured mascot: the Chinese White Dolphin.

The Chinese White Dolphin (CWD) is a treasured mascot of Hong Kong (HK) but due to manmade threats, only 61 remain in HK waters (down from 158 a decade ago).

Broad public support to expand protected havens from the CWDs was needed, as only a few locals truly understood the extent of these beautiful animals’ impending demise.

We had some big challenges to face – apathy around a lost cause, low media interest (sharks’ fin bans got all of the marine-cause attention) and an HK-wide declining propensity to donate.

Our analysis found that, young and enthusiastic, 18 – 34 year old HK residents are the most keen to share and participate in causes, and online and social media are central channels. The Miss HK beauty pageant is one of the major TV events of the year that targets this particular audience. We therefore decided to design a campaign that positions Ruby, the CWD, as a Miss HK contender and designted the “Vote Ruby” campaign to appeal to this group of younger “causeaholics”.

We promoted Ruby’s Miss HK campaign much like any other hopeful contender’s, strategically phasing PR, social and on-the-ground activities around Miss HK’s key milestones: the nomination period; the semi-finalists announcements; and the final of the beauty pageant, all of which were natural points of interest for the local media.

Our website, www.voteruby.hk was a consistent landing page for our communications where users could learn more about the plight of these majestic creatures in the waters of HK and sign the petition and make donations.

As unlikely as it may sound, our Miss HK contestant found resonance with the HK public, and the campaign exceeded all measurement benchmarks and expectations; we needed to spread awareness of the plight of the CWDs, we reached over 3.8 million Hong Kongers (over half of HK’s population); we needed to capture 9,000 petition signatures, we captured over 52,000. Furthermore, we also achieved the added bonus of increasing donations.