WWF launches fake luxury ivory brand to raise awareness on poaching laws

WWF’s Ivory Lane

WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in Singapore has pulled a social media stunt by launching a fake luxury online store, which claims to be selling unique jewelry pieces made from “vintage” ivory.

Called Ivory Lane, the brand positions itself as a luxury jewelry maker, launching lavish marketing campaigns on social media with a slogan reading “Ivory is a secret desire for most girls”. The initiative, which essentially catfished the pubic, caused immediate backlash for not being ethical.

For one week the alleged founder of the brand defended the premise by quoting laws that say that any ivory imported into Singapore before 1990, can legally still be sold. According to WWF Singapore this is currently being used by over 40 other online retailers to legally sell ivory products.

“The brand may be fictional but the issues highlighted are real. This was just the start,” WWF-Singapore CEO Elaine Tan, told the BBC.

According to WWF, since 2000 over 13 tons of ivory have been seized by Singapore authorities, many of which were en route to be imported into China. This shows the increased complication of cross-border illegal trade. A YouGov survey further shows a lack of understanding by the Singapore public on ivory trading laws, with only 8% claiming to understand current legislation.

The protection of wildlife, and the trading of ivory in particular, has become more of a focus recently internationally, with the governments in the US, UK, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, all banning the ivory trade in the last two years.

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