Calgary Zoo downsizes elephant ads (literally)

Leveraging the tagline 'Littler is cuter,' an unusual guerrilla marketing initiative is showing up in unusually small spots in the western city.

To demonstrate that good things often come in small packages, the Calgary Zoo and local agency Trigger have launched an offbeat guerrilla marketing campaign tied to the recent birth of its Asian elephant, Malti.

The second phase of the zoo’s current ‘Littler is cuter’ initiative – which features storybook illustrations of Malti in more traditional media vehicles – began placing the tagline on pint-sized versions of bus benches, retail sandwich boards, shopping carts and retail conveyor belts yesterday.

‘Asian elephants like Malti are an endangered species,’ explains Wade Harper, the zoo’s director of marketing and sales. ‘So to be able to visit a baby one at a zoo is a rare experience [and] we wanted an advertising experience that was just as unique. We think this is a great campaign that really demonstrates why littler is cuter.’

The initiative will run throughout the summer, and includes tiny benches and mini sandwich boards set up in front of shops on Calgary’s high-traffic commercial areas. As well, mini shopping cart ads and mini counter bars have been placed in the Sunterra Market chain and several area Safeway supermarkets.

The zoo handled media buys in-house, and Trigger booked the guerrilla locations.