Best Social Media Campaign of the Year Winners

SAFE has been awarded ‘Best Social Media Campaign of the Year’ in the 2017 Techsoup New Zealand Charities Technology Awards for our dairy awareness campaign.

The integrated multi-media campaign won for showcasing innovation, communication story-telling and technology service excellence to connect people with some of the realities of animal agriculture, challenging their beliefs and convictions, and offering a practical and digital option to personally make a difference and reduce animal suffering.

New Zealanders were shocked to learn about a different side to the New Zealand dairy industry when an investigation by Farmwatch was shown on Sunday, and were encouraged to become informed consumers.

SAFE used a mixture of carefully planned and timed memes, videos, links and posts to develop interaction and story development, maintaining engagement with our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube followers, and ensuring longevity and interest across the duration.

The Farmwatch investigation and video resulted in widespread television, newspaper, digital and radio coverage, with every major news outlet covering the story, including One News, Seven Sharp, NewsHub, Prime, Paul Henry, Radio New Zealand and more. In total, SAFE achieved over 200 pieces of mainstream media coverage, including overseas media in the UK, US, Australia, India, Europe, and even as far afield as Korea and China.

A subsequent Facebook dairy video published in November 2016 as part of the continuing campaign with Farmwatch has attracted over 32 million ‘reach’, 17 million video views and one million engagement.

One meme gained so much attention that it was eventually censored by Facebook and inevitably achieved increased attention. This graphic was shared by numerous animal protection charities worldwide, resulting in the ability to educate consumers about dairy globally. The design was analysed by a Marketing Professor, who correctly stated: "this is the type of image that will be posted and re-posted". To this day, it is still being used as users’ profile pictures on social media.

During the campaign, we encouraged the public to take SAFE's pledge to try a dairy-free lifestyle and asked the public to send an e-mail to the New Zealand Government, via its website asking for the establishment of an independent body for animals.


Because of this ongoing dairy campaign, and the widespread attention it received, partly through the innovative use of social media, the Ministry for Primary Industries was forced to announce a review of the regulations around the treatment of ‘bobby calves’.

Charges and prosecutions were laid. The slaughterhouse worker was sentenced to two years imprisonment for cruel bobby calf treatment offences. The slaughterhouse owners are also being prosecuted. A farmer has charges laid against him for illegal use of a hip clamp, and another man has been charged with ill-treatment of calves and a farmer has also been charged with ill-treatment of a dairy cow.

SAFE met with MPI and dairy industry representatives, Dairy NZ and Fonterra, to discuss our concerns and gain a commitment to work towards making improvements in the treatment of calves, an issue that was known about by government and industry but largely ignored.

An increasing number of consumers are now aware of animal suffering in dairy production and make different, kinder, food choices.

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23 March 2017