A social-media frenzy has erupted in anticipation of the birth of an approximated six-foot-tall, 150-pound baby giraffe at Animal Adventure Park in upstate New York.
Since February, the world has been closely following the pregnancy of April the Giraffe through daily updates on Twitter, Facebook Live & YouTube. The birth, which will take about 30 minutes in total, has been going viral on the zoo’s YouTube channel for days now. Since the giraffe cam (sponsored by Toys R Us) started streaming live in February, nearly 20 million people across the globe have tuned in to check in on April. The birth is so highly anticipated that many Internet memes have been created to illustrate the public’s impatience with April’s unknown due date. Vets predicted an April Fool’s baby last week but as of now, the delivery is still pending.
Animal Adventure Park continues to provide regular social media updates to the public, including photos, videos, tweets and even a labour-alert system, which lets paying members of the public know when to tune into the giraffe cam to catch the birth while it is happening. The zoo is also using this opportunity to harness the power of social media by encouraging the public to suggest names for the zoo’s new addition through an online contest. Fans of April have already taken to social media to suggest their favourite picks including unity (because the birth has brought so many people together) and Truman (as in the Truman Show).
How this B2C business has captured worldwide attention online
Animal Adventure Park has been so successful in their social media campaigns that their star April the Giraffe has become an Internet sensation. Numerous media outlets like the Toronto Star, TMZ, NBC and CTV are covering the birth of April’s baby and providing their own regular updates too. They have the public binge watching their live stream like Stranger Things on Netflix and have millions of people talking about the impending labour on their own social media accounts. As one clinical psychologist put it to Fox News, “Think of how people like reality TV. This is reality TV at its finest. It’s something really happening right now. Even if it’s remote, you’re part of the experience going on.”
The New York state zoo has given the public behind-the-scenes access to their business, including a first-hand look at the birth of a magnificent species. Their marketing of real events in real time has helped the public to fall in love with April and soon her baby too. They have provided opportunity for user-generated content and given the public a voice in helping to name their bundle of joy. I think the zoo has done an excellent job in engaging with its audience online and reaching out to customers around the world, which I don’t feel would have been possible without the reach of social media.
*Pictures used within this blog post are owned exclusively by Animal Adventure Park.