Our Work

Help Us Stay Open

We needed to raise one million pounds for London Zoo.


  • ZSL


  • London


The global pandemic closed London Zoo for the first time since the Blitz of the Second World War. Back then, the Zoo was closed for just two weeks. This closure lasted for months.

With no visitors to bring in the money needed to care for its animals, the outlook was grim. In the words of Sir David Attenborough, ‘Put bluntly this national institution is now, itself at risk of extinction’.

Working pro bono, Wunderman Thompson London used a combination of the animals themselves and Sir David to create a two-pronged campaign that pulled at the heart strings and tickled the funny bone.

With the generosity of talented performers, image-makers, production experts, media owners and more, we made TV spots, posters, print ads, social films and content, all laser-focused on a single aim:

To raise one million pounds for London Zoo.

And, at the time of writing, there’s only £90,000 to go…


Remember that time was of the essence, every day was eating into the Zoo’s dwindling funds, so deep data analysis and days of mulling over strategic approaches were off the agenda. As was creating a unique donation journey for this new audience. No email updates, no cuddly toy, no minimal monthly contributions. We needed as much as people could give – immediately.

There was no doubt in our minds. This would have to be an eyeball-grabbing, heartstring-pulling, laser-focussed campaign that worked fast on the people most likely to engage with the zoo’s plight. People who had visited the zoo as children, and now had children and grandchildren of their own who that wanted to fall as deeply in love with London Zoo as they had. Which would be impossible if the Zoo remained closed with no income to care for the animals.

We set the simplest of guardrails for the campaign. 1. Lead with love not loss – we chose to reignite people’s passion for London Zoo. 2. We would feature charismatic and non-charismatic megafauna – the animals would be the stars of the show and London Zoo knew exactly which animals visitors loved, from Bhanu the lion to Bob the Emperor Tamarin. 3. Fulfilment and third party costs would be kept to a minimum – WT London would work pro bono for the Zoo and we would lever all our contacts, friends and influencers to get the campaign made for zero budget and put in front of as many people as possible in London and beyond.


The proposition itself was simple and emotional: ‘Feed ZSL’s animals now to feed your imagination later’

For us, the proof of its power lies in this timeline:

5pm Thursday 28th May - Live Teams creative briefing to work over the weekend

5pm Monday 1st June - creative responses arrive (although some jumped the gun and started sending work on Sunday!)

28 creatives worked over the weekend

80 ideas were generated – overarching concepts, TV scripts, radio, press, posters, PR stunts, social, digital games and experiences.

No job number, no overtime, no beer or pizza in the boardroom. Just dedicated creatives working at home, under lockdown conditions because they believe in the power of imagination and the magic of London Zoo.


The single biggest proof of success can be found on the ZSL Just Giving page

At the time of writing we had raised £910,000 since July 1st 2020, given by 6,396 members of the general public who had been moved by our work to donate as much as they could to help the zoo survive the effects of the pandemic. Their comments are heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure.

There is no ROI figure, as there was no financial outlay, every single part of the campaign was pro bono – agency time, production partners, media. Not a single pound was spent.

ZSL- Help Us Stay Open- David Attenborough
ZSL- The Marketing Department
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