August 19th is World Orangutan Day and a zoo in the UK has come up with a unique way to promote this important day. The whole idea is to help spread the word about the problems these animals face in the wild because their habitats are being destroyed. The worry is that they will go extinct forever. The mission sounds great so far, right?
However, the way this zoo has chosen to market the day is questionable at the very least.
Twycross Zoo near Nuneaton, England is inviting all redheads to enjoy free entry into the zoo on World Orangutan Day. On their website, their reasoning is: Red hair is rare – and so are our Orangutans!
The staff are even being issued a color chart to make sure only redheads are taking advantage of this amazing offer…
What is the real message here? That was my first thought.
What are they really trying to say here? Because we have red hair and orangutans are covered in red hair, we must be connected? That we look like orangutans? Are we going to be color checked against their chart to make sure we’re ginger enough?
A quick look at social media will give two distinct reactions to this:
1. A lot of redheads are seeing the funny side and are going with the simple: Hey, it’s a free day at the zoo!
2. While many others are describing the offer as patronising and extremely offensive.
I can’t begin to imagine what the zoo was thinking when they came up with this idea, and how it got this far. I mean, they wouldn’t get away with this if it was any other section of society or in the United States, for that matter.
If the message is really about promoting World Orangutan Day then why wouldn’t they just give free admission to everyone? Rather than this bizarre implication that redheads and orangutans are somehow connected.
Obviously this is a marketing stunt on behalf of the zoo whom is getting lots of publicity — but is it okay? Are we being singled out and ridiculed? Or is just a bit of fun?
Are you offended?
Rock it like a Redhead!
Photo via Yahoo Beauty