‘Night Tour Shadows’ at Johannesburg Zoo


I was unaware that The Johannesburg Zoo even had night tours, but this sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening out.

And why not – with all the loadshedding (power cuts) we are experiencing, there is absolutely no reason to be sitting around melting marshmallows on candles, singing kum-ba-ya pretending you are at the camp fire!

I think the reason this campaign proves to be successful is because of the unconventional way used to communicate the night tours, now being referred to as the ‘Night Tour Shadows’.  From my childhood, shadow games were often a way to pass time or entertain one another, with everyone believing that they had created the best shadow or most unique bunny…. I always won this game of course.

When the Jo’burg Zoo commissioned Y&R Johannesburg to create a strategy that encompassed the excitement of discovery in an interactive and engaging way – Y&R really kept it simple but innovative, creating a relevant campaign that just leaves you with the biggest smile! I think the real trigger is that it brings me back to my childhood, where even the smallest and simplest things were awesome.


Rui Alves, Executive Creative Director at Y&R South Africa’s Johannesburg office explains the campaign further;  “Our objective was to create a campaign that would impart a sense of discovery through design. When the light hits the posters, it reveals some of the nocturnal animals you will encounter during a Night Tour: the lion, the red panda, the eagle owl, and the wild dog. These animals are much more active and playful at night.”

  • I feel that where this campaign could have seen improvement was through greater awareness. I was unable to locate this campaign on the Johannesburg Zoo’s Facebook page, which would assist in amplifying the overall campaign reach. This would also assist in creating a more integrated campaign as a whole
  • There could also be a further drive at the zoo to upload pics of your night experiences. Perhaps these cut outs could be placed on boards at each of the various animals cages, so that visitors could learn exactly which animal they were visiting by using their phones and replicating the shadows seen on the video clip
  • These experiences could then also be linked back to social media, where visitors could snap the pic of the shadow/animal they just visited and upload it to Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #NightTourShadows
  • I also feel that this campaign could have made a massive impact through innovative billboards, where a similar idea of the cut outs could have been placed on selected billboards around high traffic zones. Using uplighting it would be possible to create the same effect as seen in the video clip, where drivers on their way home will be able to experience the night shadows. This would work especially well going into winter, as the sun is setting earlier each night, creating the perfect setting. The hashtag #NightTourShadows could once again be placed on the billboard to allow drivers to share their experience online

Overall, I think the campaign is a fantastic, unique idea that has the opportunity of becoming even more impactful & reaching a larger audience by following a more integrated strategic approach.

I however, will definitely be booking my tickets to the next Night Tour Shadows at the Johannesburg Zoo.

….and that’s all she wrote!

XOXO Industry Newbie XOXO


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