Jessica Goodfellow
Feb 23, 2021

The Lion's Share wants advertisers to pay animals a commission

SPIKES ASIA X CAMPAIGN: Animals are used in 20% of the world's ads but are at risk, according to sustainability initiative, which wants brands to take responsibility to protect their future.

Christopher Nelius, co-founder, The Lion's Share
Christopher Nelius, co-founder, The Lion's Share

What if advertisers paid a small fee to support the conversation of animals, every time they used an image or video of an animal in their ads? This is the concept behind sustainability initiative The Lion’s Share Fund, which issued a rallying call at Spikes Asia X Campaign Monday to build momentum in the region.

The Lion’s Share Fund was established in 2018 and asks advertisers to make a contribution (0.5% of media spend) every time they use an image of an animal in their advertising—in the same way they pay commission fees for actors, music and locations.

Co-founder Christopher Nelius explained: "I'm a film director, I make ads. We all know that in advertising we pay for actors to appear in our commercials, we pay for music and locations. It's time that we do the same for animals."

Nelius claimed that approximately 20% of the world’s ads feature an animal, since they are an "amazingly effective, tried and true way of selling more products".

"Animals are a great way to communicate and get people to buy things," he said. "Animals can be lovingly portrayed and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, like everything is all right in the world. Animals can symbolise luxury and a wild spirit, sex, courage, innocence and warmth that can even entice us to visit a place."

But animals are under threat, and the private sector and brands "have an even greater responsibility to ensure [the world] is looked after for the generations to come," said Nelius.

"Consumers after all, are demanding it," he added.

Nelius wants to encourage more brands to sign up to The Lion’s Share Fund so it can reach its target to raise US$100 million per year to put into conservation efforts.


Watch this Spikes Asia X Campaign session:


Since its founding, the fund, which is fully backed by the United Nations Development Programme, has signed up more than 35 brands including Mars Incorporated, JCDecaux, Gucci, Nielson, Cartier, Lacoste, IAG and more. 

So far it has distributed money to funding rainforest rehabilitation, an all-female ranger programme in the Leuser ecosystem in Sumatra, helping to stop elephant poaching in the Niassa reserve in Mozambique, and supplying emergency funds to support the Australian wildlife in the 2019 bushfire disaster. 

"Individually, a brand's contribution may not be a lot. But multiplied across the world, well then we have a fund that can create a brighter future for our planet...So I urge all brands out there to join us. Show your consumers and your employees that you care, that you stand by the biodiversity on our planet and become part of the solution to this crisis," Nelius concluded.


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