In 2010, The Teddy Bear Museum in South Korea launched an extremely effective guerrilla marketing campaign to highlight the ignorance of the Korean public towards the illegal industry of Bear Bile Farming.

The museum teamed up with Creative Agency SwanSong, to run the ambient campaign in a busy South Korean subway station. They placed a transparent adhesive poster of a Moon Bear on the floor and each time a commuter walked across its white background, the dirt from their shoes stuck to the image, gradually creating the image of cage bars around the bear.

The initial caption on the image read ‘Don’t turn away’, but the pedestrian’s footprints exposed an underlying message – ‘what your indifference trampled’. The public were forced to realise the consequences of their own indifference – not only to the image, but to the heinous realities of the bear farming industry.

A large linked QR code was printed alongside the image, so people could immediately find out more about the campaign and sign an online petition against the continuation of bear farming.

Using a time-lapsed hidden camera, the campaign was captured on film and broadcast virally to a global online audience:

A Clear Message

The campaign worked because of its simplicity – the powerful image and tag lines were extremely emotive and the gradual revelation of the message captured the imagination of people across the world, as the video went viral.

The medium was perfectly suited to the campaign. Placed on a subway floor, the graphic stood out and the message was constantly reinforced as commuters stepped on the poster – in fact it became clearer and clearer throughout the day.

By disseminating the footage on the viral platform of the internet, the poster’s anti-bear farming petition attracted immense support, not just from the Koreans (who the campaign was initially aimed at), but also from western societies and media outlets such as National Geographic and the Daily Mail UK, who proceeded to carry out countless investigations into the practice.

With the footprint poster, the museum unknowingly transcended its geographical boundaries to become a universal call to action for animal rights.

With the continuing rise of guerrilla marketing, online activism and a culture of media convergence, it is impossible not to marvel at the power and influence of the internet upon both the future of social justice, and ultimately that of our own worldviews.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on