A battered Bob Barker docked in Melbourne yesterday
Sea Shepherd is interested in talking to agencies about producing a campaign to raise funds for next year’s efforts to combat whale hunting in Australian waters.
The hardline conservation group has just completed another eventful mission to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean, but the next campaign faces funding issues after the US arm withdrew financial support from Sea Shepherd Australia after losing a legal case to Japanese whalers.
Jeff Hansen, who co-directed the recent operation and runs Sea Shepherd Australia, told Mumbrella that the group “would welcome any help” from agencies, particularly from those with digital and social media savvy, to produce a campaign to boost donor support. Work would be pro bono.
“Because of the Ninth Circuit hearing, Sea Shepherd USA can’t help us financially any more. We have to say to our supporters, we can’t run the next campaign unless we raise some serious money. We have to put fuel in tanks and repair our ships,” he said.
Last week, Sea Shepherd called on the Dutch government to prosecute Japanese whalers for ramming their vessels. Damaged caused by the collisions is reckoned to be worth $1m in repairs. An anti-whaling campaign, which runs from December to March, costs around $3m to run.
Hansen said agencies interested in working with Sea Shepherd should email communications director Adam Burling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sea Shepherd has produced some hard-hitting advertising in recent years, particularly overseas, such as the ‘Until they can defend themselves, we will do it for them’ campaign, which featured whales and dolphins armed with missiles and machine guns.
These graphic anti-shark fin ads, which aim to end the tradition of serving shark’s fin soup at Chinese weddings, were created by Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore.
This disturbing TV ad, which also opposes shark-finning, ran in the US.
The recent anti-whaling campaign in the Southern Ocean has been widely reported by the local and international media. Hansen said: “No matter successful our campaigns are, they amount to little if our story is not covered.”
Getting the Sea Shepherd story in the press has been “an easy win” because, Hansen says, the organisation represents “the interests of the majority of Australians who are disgusted with what’s been happening to whales in Australian territory.”
Ships clashing in the Antarctic has added high-seas drama to the story, and celebrity support from Sean Connery, William Shatner, Piers Brosnan, Christian bale and Richard Dean Anderson, and backing from politicians such as former Green Party leader Bob Brown, has kept Sea Shepherd in the public eye.
“We have Batman, McGuiver and two James Bonds on our side, which helps,” Hansen said.
The sandwiching of Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker by Japanese whaling factory ship Nissin Maru and fuelling tanker Sun Laurel, captured on video in February, has been viewed more than 1m times on YouTube.