Zoos have been in the news quite a bit of late. There was the cobra that had escaped from a New York zoo that became pretty popular when zoo officials could not find it, even though it had its own Twitter page. In the UK, the Chester Zoo gave Prince William and Kate Middleton a penguin as a wedding gift (which will soon have its own webcam).
That same Chester Zoo is back in the news again, but not for anything having to do with the penguin they gave William and Kate. Instead it was for a gift that they received from a local self storage company—a pair of rhinos.
Animals get sent to the zoo all the time though, right? Well, these rhinos happen to be pretty unique. No, they are not a rare breed or the only rhinos to walk upright like people. They are a pair of large, fiberglass rhino statues.
“I think this must be the first time a businessman has given a rhino to a zoo!” said Andrew Donaldson, owner of the self-storage company that made the donation, BiG Storage.
“But it’s great to see them back out in the public domain where everyone can enjoy them.”
Donaldson picked up the pair at an auction after last year’s Rhino Mania Art Project.
Whatever Donaldson’s intentions were when he made the gift, it was a brilliant business move. If there is one thing that most people like, it is the zoo. Donations to the zoo, of money, real animals, or fiberglass ones, are looked upon favorably by the public. People often tend to frequent business establishments when they look favorably upon them (whatever the reason may be).
The company will likely ask the zoo to place a plaque in the vicinity of the rhino pair that will say who donated the duo to the zoo. Every time someone walks by and reads it, they will see the name BiG Storage. Advertising does not get much easier than that.
True, the marketing appeal is limited with gifts like this. The initial story will hit the news and garner some attention for the zoo and the self storage company. However, once the news becomes old and forgotten, the marketing appeal will be reduced to just whoever happens to see the rhinos at the zoo.
With the thousands of people that visit the zoo every year (and assuming the rhinos were not purchased for some ridiculous amount) the gift will undoubtedly pay for itself in no time.
“BiG Storage owner donates rhinos to Chester Zoo.” Ellesmere Port Pioneer; 25 May 2011.
“Chester Zoo penguin given to Prince William and Kate Middleton as wedding gift to be shown on webcam.” Ellesmere Port Pioneer; 18 May 2011.