Mars leads call for advertisers to donate percentage of ad spend to conservation projects

Mars rival Cadbury's famed 'Drumming Gorilla' advert

Mars has committed to donate a percentage of its ad spend to conservation and animal welfare projects after signing up to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)'s ‘The Lion’s Share’ fund.

Making the announcement at the Cannes Lions festival, Mars - which spends more than $1bn on media globally - has urged other companies and brands to follow, saying action is needed from the corporate sector to tackle "these critical issues.”

The fund was set up by the UNDP with the ambition of raising $100m a year within three years, with the money being invested in a range of wildlife conservation and animal welfare programs.

“Animals are in 20% of all advertisements we see. Yet, they do not always receive the support they deserve. Until now,” said the fund’s special ambassador Sir David Attenborough.

It's also been found that nine out of the 10 most popular animals in ads are endangered or threatened.

“The Lion’s Share shows that by making a small difference today, we have an opportunity to make an unprecedented difference tomorrow," added Attenborough.

The initiative has asked for partners to contribute 0.5% of their media spend to the fund for each advertisement they use featuring an animal.

Mars signed up as the first partner, alongside production company Finch (which conceived the idea), advertising network BBDO and measurement company Nielsen.

“The Lion’s Share is exactly the sort of ambitious initiative we need to take in order to ensure we foster a healthy planet on which everyone – including animals – can thrive. For Mars, it’s another step in living the commitments of our Sustainable in a Generation plan,” said Andrew Clarke, newly appointed chief marketing and customer officer at Mars.

“We’re passionate about wildlife conservation and maintaining the biodiversity absolutely necessary for our planet. And animals need our help closer to home, too. We urge other companies and brands to join us in The Lion’s Share to help build a movement to tackle these critical issues.”

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