Background to the brief

Chester Zoo has a long history of delivering amazing experiences for families across the North West and beyond and ALVA (association of leading visitor attractions) say they are the most visited attraction outside of London.
They understand that the majority of their visitors are at the zoo to spend quality time with family and friends and to inspire their children’s imagination. 60% of their visitors are visiting as part of a family and Chester Zoo want to make the experience as memorable and as relaxing as possible for them.
Across summer 2017 they wanted to reignite the exciting, fun and playful perceptions that people have about a visit to the zoo. In the summer of 2016 they saw a decline in the number of Kids First Families visiting the zoo and wanted a proposition that would reverse this decline whilst still appealing to their core audience of Explorer families. The Zoo began working with some ‘play’ consultants to help them understand the ways that they could create more playful environments all over the zoo. In marketing terms parents (especially mums) are depicted as carers or disciplinarians but rarely as ‘playmates’ or ‘partners in crime’, yet as parents the one thing we crave is those special, unforgettable moments of fun that we share with our children.
The result of their research was an investment to create a Madagascar ‘play’ zone at the centre of the zoo. The new play area would launch in May 2017 ready for the summer season.

Our Solution

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.’

The purpose of ‘PLAY!’ as a concept and a campaign is to reignite the perception that Chester Zoo is a FUN, family day out – a day where unforgettable memories are created, moments of laughter and adventure, all shared together. No matter the reason for your visit to the zoo, we want you to be part of something unique and playful.
We need to make sure that this campaign is sympathetic to both Kids First Families and Explorer Families alike, as well as considering the much wider range of audiences that we will target to join the fun. The heart of the concept is about connecting parents and children together through play. We want them to make each other laugh, pretend and play like nobody’s watching to create those much loved unique and memorable moments that they’ll always treasure. (Have I told you about this one time at the Zoo when Mum fell off the monkey bars…)
This campaign is for everyone, from 3 years to 83 years, we want everyone to feel part of it! From Ted’s first visit to Joan who’s worked for the zoo for 10 years. It needs to have spirit, it’s not over complicated, it’s about good old fashioned fun. We need to create something that is reflective of play itself - simple, special and memorable.
The question is are you READY to Play!?

Just imagine…is a chance to inspire and motivate everyone in the family to have fun. This concept sees children of all ages and parents having fun and playing together. Refreshingly we see the two connect on a level where they take on a envied ‘partners in crime’ relationship.

Both audiences have got the backdrop of this amazing place to let their adventures begin and their imagination can wander as they Play! all around the zoo. Each and every visit will be jam packed with giggles, laughter, fun and exploring and this day will inspire Play! to carry on wherever and whenever families are together. The installations are creative, natural and in a wonderful setting. They will promote action, fun and hands-on play and immerse you in a world where whoever you are and whatever age, you will want to get involved! Just imagine what it feels like to really let go, to Play! Just like you used to… (well, before we all became tooooooo grown up! zzzzzzzzzz).


Our chosen creative concept was rolled out across:

TV advert
Out of home
Games online
Remarketing Banners
Social Media assets

Annual 2018 ShortlistPLAY! at Chester ZooAdvertising: Digital Annual 2018 ShortlistPLAY! at Chester ZooAdvertising: Print Annual 2018 ShortlistPLAY! at Chester ZooIntegrated Project featured: on 30th January 2018

PLAY! at Chester Zoo