The bears that pedalled their way around the world

Viral Bears

Here at Rose Media Group, we’ve understandably always thought that we’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. Our years of experience in the PR world have given us a unique insight into how businesses work, and how they get their messages across. Nothing, we thought, could surprise us. And then, one day in March 2024, a story came along that went all over the globe in a matter of days, and we were right in the middle of it. And it all started with a single tentative step… 

Woburn Safari Park has been wowing visitors from far and wide since 1970, and these days it’s understandably one of the most popular attractions in the UK. Covering around 360 acres of beautiful Bedfordshire countryside, it’s home to a wide range of animals, including lions, tigers, giraffes, zebras and more.  

Like everywhere else in the UK, the park had been dealing with an inordinate amount of rainfall in early 2024. There was very little the staff could do about the small lake of standing water that had formed within the black bear enclosure. A decision was therefore made to create something a little different for these often shy but always curious creatures. 

Come on, bears, time to set sail… 

Picture the scene when the first bear came out that morning from its slumber and laid eyes on, of all things, a large swan-shaped pedalo. Appropriated from the park’s lake and placed carefully amid the wet stuff, the bears gradually inched their way towards it one by one. Once they’d ascertained that this giant replica swan represented no threat, they began to have a great deal of fun with it. In no time at all, a story was born. 

Soon, major news networks across the globe were telling their viewers, readers and listeners about the bears’ antics. On TV and in print, we were treated to images of the bears climbing aboard and having some fun, and of course every precious image proved to be adorable. Many of nature’s creatures can claim to be exceptionally photogenic, but there’s something very special – and rather unique – about bears. 

In a matter of a week, the story had generated hundreds of pieces of coverage viewed by over 24.6 million people and had gained a pan-media, cross-global audience of 3.21B billion. And while we at RMG were somewhat taken aback at the speed of the story’s success, we weren’t remotely shocked at yet another example of what great PR can achieve. After all, this is what we do. 

High-quality, effective, relevant PR can shape public perception, build credibility and foster trust. Successful agencies such as ours can enhance brand image, showcase success and attract customers, whether a business is selling dog leads, days out or drinks bottles. But there are some occasions, and this has definitely been one of them, when that all-important message has been of the unpredictable, but oh so wonderful, feel-good variety. 

David Showell

David Showell

David Showell is Chief Copywriter for Rose Media Group, creating content for clients across a range of industry sectors.

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