The "Strength of Chi" update

(This article was originally published in The Horn, autumn 2016. Author: Susie Offord-Woolley, Managing Director, Save the Rhino International)

On World Rhino Day 2014, the “Strength of Chi” campaign was launched by TRAFFIC-Vietnam and Save the Rhino International, tackling the demand for illegal rhino horn in Viet Nam. Funded by the British Government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, the Chi campaign is an evidence-based social marketing campaign that uses positive messages aimed at changing the behaviour of the identified main users of rhino horn.

In 2013 TRAFFIC-Vietnam carried out consumer research, identifying that the main users of rhino horn were wealthy businessmen aged between 35-50 living in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Using data and insight from this research, TRAFFIC-Vietnam profiled an archetypal rhino horn user, referred to as “Mr L.”. To reach Mr L. with our message, Chi billboards were placed in prominent places near where Mr L. would live, and at tennis courts he would frequent. Chi messaging featured in the magazines he likes to read, and postcards were placed in Vietnam Airlines’ business lounges. A website was launched to engage Mr L. in more in-depth discussions about Chi and the misperceptions about rhino horn use. Advertising banners were placed on online newspapers popular with businessmen.

The campaign has gained high-profile support from many influential Vietnamese people and organisations. A short film featured three famous and influential Vietnamese business leaders, publicly pledging zero-tolerance for rhino horn consumption. They called on their peers, and the general public, to stop consuming rhino horn.

In the last year the campaign has gained momentum, developing new influential partners able to spread the Chi message throughout their own networks to ensure the widest reach possible. The Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry is rolling out best practices in corporate ethics and consumer behaviour change, as well as a zero-tolerance approach toward wildlife consumption through its own business events and networks. Other important partners include government departments such as the Ministry of Health and the Central Committee of Propaganda and Education, which controls all media messaging in Viet Nam.

The campaign has now reached a large section of our target audience, with initial research showing there is some success in changing rhino horn the consumers’ attitudes and behaviour. 


Since November 2015, we have sent £71,972 from the IWT Challenge Fund and £10,000 from our core funds and miscellaneous donations to TRAFFIC-Vietnam for the Strength of Chi campaign.