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Driving along yesterday I was amazed to hear the latest radio advertisement for the Royal Society for the Protection Of Birds (RSPB), inviting people to join the Spring Garden Bird watch.

It started off with the sound of a cat meowing, and then the words “do you like watching garden birds”, with more meowing.

Sadly, I couldn’t find it online to link to, but I did find plenty of negative comments about it.

Now, whilst I can appreciate the humour in a black sort of way, whoever approved this at the RSPB has really failed to grasp that creativity doesn’t always mean effective messaging.

To use the noise of a cat in relation to watching garden birds flys in the face of the RSPBs organisational narrative, as even the Society itself campaigns to highlight the damage done to wild birds from domestic cats (see here the RSPB web pages).

As they point out cats and birds just don’t mix – the RSPB quote figures on their web site of 55 million birds estimated to be taken as prey by cats every year in the UK. So what are they doing in an advert about bird watching?

Either the RSPB is employing people with a limited grasp of the organisational narrative , or there is a disconnect between the marketing department and policy staff, or whoever was in charge of this campaign allowed professional copywriters and advertising agency professionals with no grasp of what the organisation is about to sway their better judgement.

However it came into being, an advert for the RSPB featuring a meowing cat just doesn’t sit right and their reputation is diminished as a result.

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