In recent months, I have become intrigued by the internet’s newest celebrity – April the Giraffe. April lives at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York with her mate, Oliver. Starting earlier this year, the keepers at the park began a live feed of April in her pen for viewers to watch the process of her pregnancy and then the birth of a new calf. Hundreds of thousands of people tuned in, and have since been obsessed with the well-being of this giraffe. The live stream has even caught the attention of Toys R’ Us, the now sponsor of the Animal Adventure Park’s giraffe family, which is something they probably did not expect would come out of April’s pregnancy.
Weeks have gone by, and April is still pregnant and pacing away in her pen. People began to develop theories around the giraffe’s pregnancy, suggesting that it was an April Fool’s Day joke and was intended as a way to get attention for the park. The fan base around April grew so large that the Animal Adventure Park developed April inspired merchandise that are in very high demand online. Also, quite amusingly, pregnant women have been posting videos of themselves imitating the famous giraffe, thus adding to the phenomenon.
Looking at all of the exposure that April has given to the Animal Adventure Park, I was impressed by the marketing and usage of social media that brought April into the limelight. A recent article on Entrepreneur.com outlined the marketing lessons that can be learned from the excitement surrounding April –
- Your ordinary is someone else’s extraordinary
How many people do you know who have seen a giraffe birth live? Not many I would guess. For the keepers, this is a regular occurrence, but for the general population, the thought of watching a live giraffe birth is fascinating.
- Utilize the tools you have at your fingertips
With the introduction of live streaming tools like Facebook Live becoming increasingly more available, it was easy for the keepers to use it as their distribution tool. Not only is it easy to use, but it is free (at the basic level, at least). Using the simple tool of a live stream, April was accessible to all people, even in the comfort of their own home.
- Start before you’re “ready”
An important detail related to April’s fame is that the Animal Adventure Park is not even open yet (opens May 13th, 2017)! They have created a lot of buzz around their park, solely through people’s interest in watching the live stream of a pregnant giraffe walking around a room.
- Don’t forget a call to action
April’s lifestream is no longer just a video, it is also a call to action for supporting the Animal Adventure Park. Whether it is donating to the organization’s GoFund Me, buying the April merchandise or signing up for the text alert updates, Animal Adventure Park wants it’s supporters to be involved both virtually and financially. As an added bonus, their website also includes a plug for giraffe conservation organizations.
While it may be while until April actually gives birth (giraffes are pregnant for 15 months), it would seem that there is a lot to learn from this mama giraffe’s story – Keep doin’ your thing April!