TORONTO — In an effort to boost attendance during the winter months, the Toronto Zoo is featuring many of their animals from warmer climates in a special ‘Sad Animals in Cold Cages’ campaign.
“We know that the true appeal of the zoo is seeing the behaviour of wildlife up close,” says Toronto Zoo CEO Dolf DeJong, “and then watching them slowly go crazy as the temperature drops below zero. It’s like a Kafka story but instead of words we use small, defenceless animals.”
The campaign is the latest in a long series of advertisements for the zoo including ‘The Zoo, it’s a real easy field trip’, ‘Buy an annual pass, take a lemur home with you’, ‘Look, your kid is home and you have to do something with them’, ‘These monkeys sure do fuck a lot’ and, most recently, ‘At least we’re not as bad as Marineland’. ‘Sad Animals in Cold Cages’ is actually a follow-up to the successful ‘Sad Animals in Hot Cages’, although due to complaints guests can no longer take home coats made from the former residents.
“I know the zoo isn’t perfect, but they do a lot of important work. Some of those animals are endangered,” said Markham resident Wendy Lui. “And the only way to rebuild their populations is to have slack-jawed Torontonians yell at them while they’re trying to take a nap.”
The campaign has been lauded for its vivid imagery, including: a lion cub experiencing snow for the first time; a tiger trying and failing to build shelter; and a rhino getting its tongue stuck to the freezing metal bars of its cage. While some said the ads went too far, the agency defended the choices, saying “You try getting people out to the middle of Scarborough in the dead of winter.”
In order to compete in the psuedo-educational day trip market, the Royal Ontario Museum recently changed their slogan to “We have movie posters, as well as all that boring old shit”.