Antwerp Zoo wanted to drive visitors leveraging the pregnancy of one of its elephants. It was keen to avoid typical advertising campaigns and wanted to engage as many people as possible during the gestation period. The aim was to make everyone in Belgium feel as though they were involved in the pregnancy, almost as though the elephant was one of their own children.
Just like any proud future parent, the zoo decided to show everyone the very first ultrasound. The scan was projected onto prominent buildings, along with a URL directing people to a central website, www.baby-olifant.be. On the site, the zoo not only invited people to suggest names for the baby elephant but also kept it updated with developments during the pregnancy. Daily news was posted onto the site, along with information about the mother and baby and a calendar countdown. The content was spread via social media with photos on Flickr and videos on YouTube. A tool was created to allow people to create a customized Facebook profile picture that featured their face with an elephant's trunk entering the frame and the message "I'm also waiting for baby K". When the labour started, everyone was notified by text message and invited to watch the birth live.
More than 1.2m people visited the website during the birth weekend and on May 17th 2009, 559, 824 people watched the birth of baby Kai-Mook live from their computers. Never before had so many Belgians watched a live event online together.
More importantly, Antwerp Zoo welcomed 300,000 more visitors (200,000 paying) in 2009 than it did in 2008. The site continues to be updated with new about the elephant's progress.