Whiskas®, South Africa’s number one selling cat food brand, has announced a partnership with the Cheetah Outreach Trust, a cheetah education and conservation project based in the Western Cape. The partnership, which coincides with the launch of the new Whiskas platform ‘Big Cat Little Cat’, will see the cat food brand introduce 500,000 specially marked packs in retailers nationwide, promoting the support of cheetah conservation and awareness.
James Deysel, Whiskas brand manager, says that the new campaign focuses on the parallels between the behaviour of little domestic cats and their wild big cat cousins. “We know that owners admire the big cat inside their little cat and that’s why we’ve taken an even closer look at the commonalities in their behaviour. When we see them sprawled out on the back of the couch purring or sleeping, it’s easy to forget how much big cat behaviour remains inside our little cats.”
The Cheetah Outreach Trust is the biggest cheetah conservation project in South Africa due to the fact that they have a predator-farmer conflict mitigation programme within all wild cheetah territories in the country. The Trust works closely with relevant role-players to combat illegal trade as well as with local and regional NGOs to implement conservation strategies. “Cheetahs in South Africa are critically threatened by human conflict and illegal trade so it was an easy decision to select Cheetah Outreach as the partner for this campaign,” says Deysel.
Annie Beckhelling, founder of the Cheetah Outreach Trust, says that there are only just over 1,000 adult cheetahs in South Africa, 600 of which are free-roaming on farmland and the remainder in protected areas. “With the continual loss of wild cheetah habitat there is an ever-increasing conflict between humans and cheetahs over livestock, a conflict in which the cheetah suffers the most.”
The Whiskas ‘Big Cat Little Cat’ platform appeals to the universal need of caregiving in all cat owners but acknowledges the inherent nature of cats as well. The new television commercial, which can be seen on various South African television channels, shows two ‘big cat’ cubs playing and stalking in a forest environment and then in a domestic garden. They are suddenly startled by the garden irrigation coming on and pounce through the domestic cat-flap. As they enter the house, it is revealed that they are in fact domestic kittens about to enjoy their dinner, courtesy of Whiskas.
“We wanted to highlight the similarities in the behaviour and nutritional requirements of domestic cats and their big cat cousins,” says Deysel.
The specially marked packs of Whiskas will be available in retailers nationwide from May 2014. With every Whiskas product purchased, a portion of the sale will be donated to the Cheetah Outreach Trust.
Visit this site to see part of Whiska’s ‘Big Cat Little Cat’ campaign: Whiska’s ad
Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH
This article appeared in the June 2014 issue of Animaltalk magazine. For subscription details visit Coolmags.com