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Why the brief movie "Save Ralph" went viral

April
14, 2021

10 min read

This article was translated using AI technologies from our Spanish edition. Errors can occur as a result of this process.

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

By now you've probably seen the rude Save Ralph if the time isn't right to keep an eye on him. In a kind of mockumentary, it tells the story of a rabbit named Ralph, who works in a laboratory that tests cosmetics on animals, in almost four minutes. This has caused a stir in the public and generated millions of views. But why is & # 39; Save Ralph & # 39; gone viral compared to others?

It has been more than 100 years since animal testing became popular, and while the subject is not new and many organizations fight each year to have the practice banned worldwide, no campaign has had a worldwide reception like the one now run by Humane Society International is directed. (HSI).

Help #SaveRalph & countless animals that are still used for cosmetic tests worldwide! It is alarming that animal testing is still legal in 80% of countries.

WATCH & TAKE ACTION to stop this cruelty now: https://t.co/4mfW46zgwo @TaikaWaititi @rickygervais @oliviamunn @ZacEfron pic.twitter.com/qB6rBSTZUn

– Humane Society International (@HSIGlobal) April 6, 2021

Even other initiatives by the same HSI did not have the same social impact. For example #BeCrueltyFree, which was launched in 2012 for Australia, Guatemala, India and Canada. Although they sparked a change in the law, they found little favor with consumers.

One of the most important is Cruelty Free International, which has been fighting against cruelty to animals since 1989 and, together with the brand The Body Shop, has been leading a global initiative called Forever Against Animal Testing since 2017. .

In Spain, a case of animal cruelty was uncovered at the Vivotecnia laboratory in Madrid. In a two year undercover job with Cruelty Free International, they managed to collect very powerful images showing how rabbits, rats, monkeys, dogs and pigs are treated. The local government is now under pressure to take the case to court.

You can help us close #Vivotecnia. We demand that the local authority revoke Vivotecnia's license to conduct animal experiments and that the facility be closed now. Sign the & RT Petition today to seek justice for animals. Https://t.co/SVinIfujbB pic.twitter.com/NXJjflDPID

– Cruelty Free International (@CrueltyFreeIntl) April 9, 2021

And of course PETA, which has a non-animal testing program that started in 1987 under the name Beauty Without Bunnies. Thousands of brands have been added to the list in over 30 years.

"Save Ralph"

In the mockery, Ralph is interviewed about his "job" and explains that thanks to his employment, in addition to being burned, he cannot see through any of his eyes or hear with one of his ears due to the chemicals used on his body Spine. it always hurts. Then a human hand takes him out of his "house" to take him to other rabbits who beg him if they can get them out of captivity. Seconds later, a syringe is inserted into his "good" eye. In the next shot, Ralph appears blind with a collar and the injury in his spine becomes visible, for which he can no longer even see the camera.

In the rough narrative, they also explain that their entire family worked on the same "job" and died, in addition to highlighting the cruelty we subject animals to "because people are more important".

To close the cut, the sentence appears: "No animal should die and suffer in the name of beauty."

The short film has brought together several Hollywood celebrities, directed by Spencer Susser (The Greatest Showman) in a stop-motion format and with the voices of Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor Ragnarok, The Mandalorian), Zac Efron, Olivia Munn and Ricky Gervais, Rodrigo Santoro, Tricia Helfer and Pom Klementieff.

Although the original version is in English, it is already available in Spanish with the voices of George Lopez, Wilmer Valderrama and Rosario Dawson. It is also published in French, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. Before that, however, it had already been subtitled by the El Universo channel, better known for eh! which made it easier for the video to go viral in Spanish. This already has more than 42 million views and almost 40,000 comments on Instagram. On the other hand, the Humane Society's official video has already reached almost 700,000 views only on YouTube.

The animated phenomenon

Why does one social campaign work better than another? There are hundreds of testimonials on this problem on the internet. Regardless of how explicit and cruel the images were, they didn't produce the same result. As I mentioned, other associations have struggled for years to eradicate animal testing, and while they have achieved important successes, the difference lies in the social awareness that Save Ralph has generated. No one else has managed to really question consumers about what products they are buying and what happened so that they reach the market and thus get into their hands.

In this context, we spoke to Iván Morales, editor-in-chief of Cine Premiere and cinematography expert, to give us a perspective on the success of Save Ralph from the audiovisual analysis.

“The impact of this campaign is definitely based on two main aspects: the talent behind it and the decision to make it an animation. On the one hand, Taika Waititi (certainly since directing Thor Ragnarok and What We Do in the Shadows) has become one of the most attractive personalities. There is also Ricky Gervais, who "commands" an even larger fan community. The two of them (in addition to the entire Hollywood community for giving them the quick thanks) were responsible for giving him word of mouth that a traditional marketing campaign would hardly have achieved, ”he says to Iván.

Image: Humane Society International

Second, Morales emphasizes the format. "The fact that the short film stop-motion animation was created with a dry and ironic sense of humor makes it very digestible for an audience that may already be 'tired' of seeing so many products that show us how badly we treat the planet and the animals. In a way, everyone knows, but no one wants to face it or they may see it as a lost cause. "

"With things like that, in animation and 'light', the message can penetrate much further and go further," explains the film expert.

“Usually, these types of campaigns (like the one PETA has started with Joaquin Phoenix over the past few years) are aggressive and try to strike with shocking and harsh images. This is a different approach, and perhaps that is why it has been so successful in terms of dissemination, ”concludes Iván.

What the creators say

In a press release from Humane Society International, he stated that the goal is "to shed light on animal suffering and involve consumers and policy makers in HSI's mission to ban cosmetic testing on animals".

Society President Jeffrey Flocken said: “#SaveRalph is a wake up call to the fact that animals are still suffering from cosmetics and that it is time to stop. Today we have an abundance of reliable, animal-free methods to ensure product safety. Hence, there is no excuse for letting animals like Ralph suffer while testing. ""

For his part, Director Spencer Susser stated, “Laboratory cosmetic testing animals have no choice and it is our responsibility to do something about it. When the opportunity arose to create a new campaign for Humane Society International, Stop Motion was the perfect way for me to get the message across. When you see the terrible reality of the way animals are treated, you can't help but look away. I was hoping to create something with this film that would convey a message without being too heavy. I hope the public will fall in love with Ralph and fight for him and other animals like him so we can ban the tests once and for all. ""

Image: Humane Society International, Youtube

What is happening to animal testing in Mexico and the world?

The campaign focuses on 16 countries, including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, South Africa and 10 Southeast Asian countries. This practice is already banned in 40 countries, but is still legal in most of the world. In addition, the HSI tries to defend existing bans like in Europe, where loopholes are exploited and new tests of cosmetic ingredients on animals are required.

The HSI has been active in Mexico since 2017 to discontinue testing in Aztec territory. That would make it the first country in North America and the 41st country in the world to ban them.

In March 2020, the Senate of the Republic approved a law banning the use of animals in the manufacture, research and development of cosmetics in Mexico. However, the proposal must be approved by the Chamber of Deputies before the end of April. Otherwise, the initiative could stall with no tentative end date.

You can sign the petition to combat cosmetic and ingredient testing on animals. Also, look for information about which products are cruelty free. Remember that as consumers we have the option to choose whether to buy or not.

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