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Panda Party with WWF in Indonesia by Annisaa Rachmawati
 
   
 
   

Known throughout the world for its environmental advocacy and defense of endangered animals, the World Wildlife Fund and its team in Indonesia wanted to celebrate WWF’s 50th anniversary in style. And did they ever! Taking advantage of Jakarta’s Sunday restrictions on driving, the December 16th event – part of a broader pro-bono project called “Golden Path of Love – A Tribute to Earth” – took the streets by (cuddly) storm, and Weber Shandwick’s team in Indonesia was lucky enough to be along for each step of the incredible ride!

The event began in adorable fashion: with a parade of environmental activists, festooned in head-to-toe panda costumes, riding bicycles and handing out over 1,500 tree seedlings to hundreds of bewildered but ecstatic onlookers. With the coordinating minister for the economy and the forestry minister both present in the crowd along with a column of elite Indonesian soldiers, the swelling onlookers were met with surprise number two as, on a dime, the stern-seeming soldiers – led by Major Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the eldest son of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – broke into a dynamite rendition of Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” Needless to say, there were a lot of Indonesian jaws hitting the floor!

Well prior to the event itself, Weber Shandwick was brought on to help shape the campaign’s development and to serve as WWF’s critical link to key national media outlets. The team in Jakarta worked tirelessly – meeting and speaking with media, crafting press releases, and coordinating with WWF – to ensure maximum exposure for both the opening parade and flash mob, and for what followed. After the pandas handed out tree seedlings to onlookers, “My Baby Tree,” a mass tree planting event, was held on the river bank of Jakarta’s main walkway. Finally, a red-carpet summit was held at Taman Ismail Marzuki, the city’s most prestigious arts center, with live music and theatrical performances in support of the WWF.

As you might expect, the program proved a total success. Mass coverage was generated across Indonesian traditional media, with 179 clips recorded in print and online (including in Indonesia’s two most prominent English-language newspapers, the Jakarta Globe and Jakarta Post). And with spectators snapping pictures and uploading them at a pace to match the soldiers’ dance moves, you can bet that the events made a social splash as well. Just as cool, the event was later inducted into the Indonesian Record Museum (MURI) – Indonesia’s answer to Ripley’s Believe It or Not – for being the world’s biggest parade of cycling pandas (a great distinction, we think you’ll agree).

Thanks to the team in Jakarta, thousands of Indonesians have become fans of the WWF and its mission. And all it took were parading pandas, dancing soldiers, a clutch of political figures and one terrific PR team.

Interested in learning more about this pandariffic event or Weber Shandwick’s continued work on behalf of WWF in Indonesia? Please reach out to Annisaa Rachmawati (arachmawati@webershandwick.com)