Igniting awareness, Gyro's California grizzly campaign strikes a chord

An effort to return the California grizzly bear to the wilderness areas of the state has taken a very clever turn, thanks in part to an awareness campaign launched by the Center for Biological Diversity with help from the creative team at Gyro San Francisco.

In a series of four videos, the Californians of today — yoga instructor, plastic surgeon, real estate developer and a gay biker in leather try and make their case that they are the iconic symbol of California and should be on the flag. Hilarious and spot on, the California archetypes each make their case as to why they should be featured on the flag in place of the proud bear.

The new awareness campaign called "Bring Back the Bears" supports returning the indigenous California grizzly bear to the wild.

The design is meant to encourage Californians to speak out in favor of returning grizzlies to remote areas of California. The central creative device of the campaign features the California state “Bear Flag,” only without the iconic bear. The copy reads: “California grizzlies have been missing from California for nearly a century. Help us return these endangered bears to their native home — where they belong. There is an addendum of course — that the bears should be returned to the the remote Sierra Nevada, not your backyard, silly.”

The California grizzly bear has been symbolic to the state since 1846 as the Bear Flag, as it is commonly called, is also the state flag of California. Although there remains a habitat for about 500 grizzly bears in the state, the last time a California grizzly was seen in California was in 1924 in the area of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

"Grizzly bears were in California long before it became a state and they deserve a home here today,” said Jeff Miller, Conservation Advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Returning these incredible animals to remote portions of our state would be a key step in rewilding parts of California and saving one of America’s most iconic animals. It’s time to bring back the bears.”

The petition lives at bringbackthebears.org. The site provides additional information about the cause as well as facts debunking famous myths about grizzlies. The campaign includes outdoor, print, digital, video, paid media, a live event and a comprehensive #BringBacktheBears social media push.“ People are invited to sign a California Fish and Wildlife Commission petition demanding grizzlies be brought back to their native home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where they were last seen.

Ronny Northrop, ECD, Gyro San Francisco said: “It’s absurd that our state flag features an animal that hasn’t resided in the state for almost a century. We’re proud to help drive awareness for the humanly relevant mission of the Center for Biological Diversity.”


Client: Center for Biological Diversity

  • Communications Director: Mike Stark

Agency: Gyro

  • ECD: Ronny Northrop
  • CD: Trevor Oldershaw
  • ACD: Toby Petersen
  • CW: Greg Lane
  • Account Supervisor: Tani Yee
  • Project Manager: Matt Turrini
  • Director of Operations: Kathryn Redekop

Production: Tool of North America

  • Director: Steve Mapp
  • Managing Partner: Oliver Fuselier
  • EP: Rob Helphand
  • Producer: Valerie Gomez

Editorial: Beast Editorial / SF

  • Editor: Connor McDonald
  • Assist Editor: Brandy Troxler
  • EP: John Ettinger
  • Flame: Matt Trivan

Music: Perigro Music and Sound

  • Composer/Creative Director: Greg Kuehn
  • Producer: Robin Frisbey

Audio: One Union Recording

  • Mixer: Eben Carr
  • EP: Lauren Mask


  • Yoga Guru: Clare Salstrom
  • Gay Bear: Colin Sweeny
  • Plastic Surgeon: Stephen Kearin
  • Real Estate Developer: Cooper Thornton

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