Wildlife Fund Shows Video In Theaters Nationwide

Viewers going to one of the more than 1,000 Cineplex Odeon theaters in the country in March and April have probably seen a public service advertisement for the World Wildlife Fund before their movie started. The charity was able to produce the ads with the help of the American Express Company.

The 60-second spot, which was filmed in Venezuela, shows a tropical rain forest teeming with life. The announcement begins much like a preview to a movie, showing a dark skinned native standing waist-deep in water and aiming a bow and arrow toward the sky. The camera then pans to show birds flying above, followed by a close-up of a jaguar.

The entire spot was filmed in slow motion and is accompanied by music that sounds exotic and wild. Printed words are superimposed on the scenes: "The air you breathe... half the medicine known to man. . . a possible cure for AIDS. This is the rain forest. Every second another acre is destroyed forever." At the end of the announcement the wildlife fund's logo is shown, with a phone number that viewers can call for more information. American Express is also listed as the sponsor of the ad.

The public service announcement, part of a three-year campaign by the wildlife fund, was originally designed as a television spot. Ogilvy & Mather, an advertising agency in New York, donated its services to design two film announcements, three radio ads, and three print ads. Total production costs were about $300,000.

After completing the filming, Ogilvy & Mather showed the announcements to another of its clients, American Express. That company had been purchasing screen time from Cineplex Odeon theaters since 1989 to show ads and a collection of short, award-winning animated films. The company decided to donate the screen time it had purchased for about eight weeks in March and April to the World Wildlife Fund, so it could show its announcement. American Express also paid to produce the copies used in the theaters.

For more information contact:
Dana Lauren West, Communications Associate
World Wildlife Fund
1250 24th Street, N.W., Washington 20037;
(202) 778-9509.