As a truly authentic African brand, Amarula liqueur has long felt a responsibility to become involved in the conservation of its icon, the majestic African elephant, considering that just 400,000 are left living in the wild.

In August – during which World Elephant Day falls – Amarula removed the African elephant from its label. This was a statement, explains Amarula global development manager Saramien Dekker, to get consumers to realise the impact of elephant poaching – one elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory.

Amarula has long used its African heritage to differentiate itself – both within and outside the liquor sector, she points out.

“We believe it is our responsibility to educate consumers in terms of elephant conservation and the terrible impact poaching is having on the elephant population. Many consumers don’t realise that you actually have to kill an elephant to get its tusks. As a brand, our purpose is to share the truth about elephants and ivory with consumers and to get them to understand that if we don’t do something to curb the demand for ivory, elephants are likely to have disappeared by 2030,” says Dekker.

The big take-out: As an African brand, Amarula believes it has a responsibility to protect the African elephant and, as such, has partnered with Wildlife Direct to create campaigns to educate consumers about elephant poaching.

In addition to elephant conservation, she also emphasises the need to ensure the brand remains relevant. “We understand the importance of the millennial market. They hold brands accountable and they also know they have the ability to influence brands through their buying behaviour. In this market, if your brand is not authentic and you don’t stand for something, it’s likely that you will be discounted,” she says.

Amarula began its conservation journey in 2002, with the formation of the Amarula Trust, which worked together with the University of KwaZulu Natal on its African Elephant Research Programme. Later, the brand met and partnered with Dr Paula Kahumbu at Wildlife Direct. Kahumbu is now the spokesman for the Amarula brand, travelling all over the world to speak at events dealing with elephants, ivory and poaching.

Dekker says aside from the educational role Amarula plays in conservation, its “Name Them, Save Them” campaign comprises a virtual African landscape mobisite, where consumers can assist financially by designing their own elephants, naming them and sharing them with family and friends. For every elephant shared, Amarula donates $1 to Wildlife Direct.

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