For over a century, The Bronx Zoo has been a cultural landmark in New York City. With over two million visitors a year, the world-renowned zoo has more than earned its reputation as one of the city’s must-see attractions.
But in the summer of 2017, the zoo wasn’t living up to its standard. Attendance was down, and with their annual Halloween event, “Boo at The Zoo,” right around the corner, that needed to change… and quickly.
That’s when they came to us to inspire action.
People love going to the Zoo, but only go once every few years. They assume that once you’ve been once, you’ve seen all that there is to see.
Of course, our client knew that assumption to be far from the truth… there’s always something new to experience at The Bronx Zoo – we just needed to make New Yorkers aware of that.
Create memorable “must-come” events in every season to increase brand awareness and drive attendance while making The Bronx Zoo relevant to a whole new audience.
Our client needed to do the urgent fast and the important great, so we got to work right away with “Boo at the Zoo”. We collaborated with our brilliant clients and built a campaign that would Inspire Action by turning an annual tradition into something brand new.
Enter Flamingo Girl…
To bring a new level of anticipation to one of NYC’s premiere Halloween events , we conjured up Flamingo Girl – a precocious, strong-willed seven-year-old dressed in a festive flamingo costume created by one of our talented Art Directors, Katie Renfroe. With the support of the client, we ventured down to Manhattan’s historic Washington Square Park, where we hidden cameras were set up to capture the ensuing magic.
Flocking around in an adorable pink costume with matching sunglasses, Flamingo Girl asked passerby the same question: “What are you gonna be for Boo At The Zoo?”. She charmed the streets of NYC, asking cabbies, statues, tourists, policemen, hot dog vendors, even real dogs.
After capturing the footage, we made a series of little films that acted as both a love letter to New York and an invitation to “the biggest, bestest Halloween event in New York City.”
Flamingo Girl instantly became a viral sensation, appearing all over the internet and social in cute TV spots and in print ads offline. The spots were even named an official honoree of last year’s Webby Awards. Flamingo Girl was both famous and famously effective.
To really bring this campaign to life and make a real impression on New Yorkers, we built The Bronx Zoo Bootique, the first-ever experimental pop-up space from The Bronx Zoo.
The Bronx Zoo Bootique took all the magic of Boo At The Zoo and brought it to the Lower East Side. The pop-up had a face painter, henna tattoos, and costumes that were donated by artists from around the world.
And of course, Flamingo Girl, already a superstar, made time to fly on over and say hello to all her newfound fans.
The campaign was a success, increasing attendance by 13% compared to the previous year, and our client saw a 20% increase in total revenue — the highest performing Boo at the Zoo in six years!
Boogie Down At the Zoo
Building on that momentum, our client and the DiGo team shifted our focus to the spring for the Bronx Zoo’s next innovative event, the first ever “Boogie Down at The Zoo”.
With live performances from hip hop legends like Melle Mel, The Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Caz and graffiti sessions from world-renowned and Bronx-raised artists like John “Crash” Matos, this one-of-a-kind event brought together the best of Bronx culture with the amazing animals featured at the zoo.
The event promotion featured retro-themed video content of the Bronx icons shooting the breeze around the borough in a 1980s-era “Boogie Down Cab”, an old taxi transformed by Crash’s trademark comic-styled graffiti.
The three-month event appealed to a new audience of NYC’s attraction-lovers, social-fun seekers, and culture cravers.
Passport to the World
With the summer nearing, it was time to draw crowds back to the zoo for their next seasonal event, “Passport to The World” – a showcase of the many regions the Wildlife Conservation Society works in.
Our design team built a brand identity and campaign that highlighted vast wildlife from around the world and celebrated global cultures. With beautifully illustrated travel posters strategically placed throughout New York City subway kiosks, this worldly summer experience was put on display for thousands of daily commuters, building anticipation and driving traffic to event-branded landing pages and videos.
Three straight seasons. Three unique must-see events.
And most importantly, three fantastic reasons for visitors to return – and they did.
During our partnership with The Bronx Zoo, we helped make one of New York City’s most iconic institutions a place where attendees of all ages could come and immerse themselves in cultural adventures that went way beyond the world-class animal exhibits. Each of these events offered unforgettable experiences, appealed to a younger influencer audience, and turned casual zoo-goers into lifelong brand devotees with memories to last a lifetime.