The Endangered Animal In The Room!
You may have seen an article written by Angelina Jolie for Harper's Bazaar which has been getting a lot of attention in the print press and social recently.
The article is well written and focuses on the subjects of women's rights and conservation and does a great job of highlighting the work done by the N/a'an ku se Foundation in Namibia to conserve endangered species.
The question I have is, do the pictures used with the article perpetuate attitudes which are significant in the decline of the cheetah population? Cheetahs are thought of as being easily "domesticated" which has created an illegal pet trade, particularly in the gulf states where they are a status symbol. Increasingly travellers to Africa are wanting to observe the wildlife in a responsible manner but it's still common to be asked "can we pet the cheetahs?"
The text within the article does state that "cheetahs are not pets" and also points out
that "live cheetahs are caught and sold illegally to the pet trade" but it seems to me that the images used contradict these messages? For instance, having spent several years in Namibia I can say that N/a'an ku se do not allow visitors to enjoy afternoon tea with the cheetahs at the foundation but this picture doesn't necessarily suggest that is the case.
In an age where an unrelenting flow of information passes in front of us each day, pictures are arguably more important than text to convey the right message. For instance, I must have seen the pictures half a dozen times in newspapers and on Facebook before I actually read the full article.
If that's the case don't publishers, advertisers and marketeers have to take more responsibility when selecting images to ensure the creatives don't undermine the message?
Have you seen this article or others like it? Do you think the exposure derived from stylised pictures outweighs other concerns or do you agree that sales should be secondary to responsible messaging?
Get in touch and let us know your thoughts.