Everyone is familiar with the RSPB Logo. This famous logo has changed little in RSPB’s 150 year existence. The first logo from 1934 is based on a wide range of birds with the full name of the organisation in small type underneath the birds. It reads: “RESPITE AVES COELI” which in Latin means “Look at the birds of the air”
The RSPB was founded by Mrs Emily Williamson from Didsbury in 1889; originally called ‘the Plumage League’. The collective was entirely woman trying to stop the use of bird plumage in hats and fashion, which had become very fashionable in the late Victorian era.
They had simple rules:
- Members shall discourage the wanton destruction of Birds, and interest themselves generally in their protection
- Lady-Members shall refrain from wearing the feathers of any bird not killed for purposes of food, the ostrich only excepted.
The Society gained lots of support and in just 15 years from starting they gained the Royal Charter. In 1970 the logo was updated to one much closer to one we would recognise today.
I’m sure most people recognise it, however do you know what the bird is and what it represents? Until I started supporting RSPB. I didn’t know, I also didn’t know about its significance to the charity and why it was chosen. The Avocet bird got chosen to be there leading logo image after one of their most successful conservation projects started in the 1940’s.
The Avocets used to breed along the coast from Sussex to Yorkshire but pressures from egg collectors, taxidermy and other factors led to its disappearance in 1842. It took nearly 100 years before they bred again in Ireland in 1938. In 1947 four pairs were found breeding in Havergate Island and Minsmere in Suffolk. Their habitat is shallow pools with low islands, which is rare in the UK. A wayward bomb in the Second World War in Havergate created a hole in the seawall around the island and tidal rivers flooded in creating an ideal environment for the Avocets to breed.
Today 100 pairs breed in both Minsmere and Havergate and with protection and conservation project the national number has increased to over 400 pairs. The habitats they live in need maintaining yearly to make sure the plants don’t take over and water levels are monitored to ensure the birds continue to breed. Today the Avocet numbers
‘are still increasing but threats remain. Over half of the birds breed at only two sites, both of which are threatened by sea level rise. Avocet eggs are still sought after by egg collectors. But, thanks to the work of the RSPB, in 50 years avocets have gone from a handful to several hundred pairs, making them a real symbol of success.’
So having the Avocet as their logo and mascot is a symbol of a wonderful success stories and there passion for helping keep British birds and wildlife from becoming extinct.
Since the 1970, the logo has been accompanied by many tag lines.
In 2013, the logo got updated to be simplified and modern; the newest tag line was then added.
This marketing and promotion stategy is all about showing simple ways people can contribute to ‘giving nature a home’
I found this advert from 1934, I’m sure you can agree there advertising has come along way;
The advert opens with a young boy lying on the ground. It shows him watching a frog and mimicking the movement of a frog ribbiting with his mouth. The camera pans to him at school in a classroom practicing ribbiting in the playground, on the bus and walking home. He then passes a neighbour, an older man and his wife whilst ribbeting and the old man copies. The old man smiles in a delightful manner and the boy looks confused. The little boy then goes into the house and through to the garden. Over the fence he can see the old man’s garden is a home for wildlife. Give it a watch here.
The new advert is a simple and beautiful relationship of two people sharing a love for nature. It has brought a warm feeling to anyone I know who has watched it. The RSPB have supported the adverts with a booklet showing how you can help wildlife in your garden. You can register and download one here.
The design of the guide has beautiful attention to detail. It is simple to read and follow, it even has a children’s section. There are simple tasks that we can all do to help our local wildlife. There is brilliant use of photographs and type just wants you to keep reading to find out more. I won’t show you any of it, I’ll leave it as surprise for when you download it.
If you haven’t been to one of the reserves, have a look on the RSPB website, and find the ones closest to you. There are ‘200 nature reserves covering almost 130,000 hectares, home to 80% of our rarest or most threatened bird species’
If you’re local to me in Manchester, RSPB also run projects and activities in Sale and Chorlton water park. Find out more about them here.
You can even do a nature walk every Sunday where you can hire out backpacks, which include: binoculars, an explorer’s guide, treasure hunt, spotting sheets, bug hunting equipment, a stethoscope, magnifying glass and a packet of duck food all for £2.50. A great price for a wildlife adventure.