M&C Saatchi L.A. Rocks Out for the San Diego Zoo

By Erik Oster 

To promote the Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, which encompasses flora and fauna from six different African habitats, M&C Saatchi L.A.and production company Gentleman Scholar took the “Africa Rocks” theme and ran with it.

The resulting animated spots are colorful, imbued with 80s nostalgia (in the music, font choices, color-scheme, etc.) and psychedelic imagery. Think safari-themed Lisa Frank folder come to life and you’ve got the idea. There’s a 30-second anthem ad, as well as six 15-second spots focusing on the exhibits different animals and habitats.

M&C Saatchi worked with designer SCROJO, who has worked with Moby and The Red Hot Chili Peppers on gig-style posters for the campaign’s OOH component. The agency also collaborated with illustrator Kyle Lambert (Stranger Things, Super 8) on print ads.

“By choosing the name ‘Africa Rocks’ for the Zoo‘s newest habitat, we knew rock and roll would play an important part in telling our story,” San Diego Zoo chief marketing officer Ted Molter said in a statement. “Our collaboration with M&C Saatchi LA and their creative partners brought the spirit, nostalgia and diversity of rock to this amazing collection of engaging content, setting the stage for an unexpected African experience showcasing the Zoo‘s Rock-stars – penguins, lemurs, baboons, meerkats, crocodiles and leopards.”


“The team was given an incredible creative opportunity with the exhibit’s name ‘Africa Rocks.’ We were inspired to illustrate the diversity of habitats & animals through familiar rock themes and iconography we all grew up with,” added M&C Saatchi L.A. associate creative director/art director Ron Tapia. “By implementing a different style for each media and habitat, the ‘Rock’ theme was consistent, but every piece of creative felt both fresh and a little familiar at the same time, appealing to the San Diego Zoo’s wide audience.”

Client: San Diego Zoo
Chief Marketing Officer: Ted Molter

Marketing Director, Communications & Interpretation: Debra Erickson

Associate Director, Design: Damien Lasater

Associate Director, Communications: Mike Warburton

Agency: M&C Saatchi LA

Executive Creative Director: Maria Smith

Associate Creative Director/AD: Ron Tapia

Associate Creative Director/CW: Ben Lay

CW/AD: Stephen Reidmiller

Director of Content Production: Dennis Di Salvo

Print Production Director: Brian Bushaw

Group Account Director: Mike Wilton

Account Director: Makeia Carrier

Print Poster Illustration:


Kyle Lambert

Production Company: Gentleman Scholar

Directors: William Campbell and Will Johnson

Executive Producer: Jo Arghiris

Head of Production: Rachel Kaminek

Art Director: Michael Tavarez

Producer: Nikki Maniolas

Designers: Hana Eunjin Yean, JP Rooney, Macauley Johnson, Andy Lyon, Brandon Smith, Cam Floyd, Hanna No, James Levy, Kelly Jung, Paul Kim

2D Animators: Chris Finn, Macauley Johnson, Andy Lyon, Danni Fisher-Shin, Henry Pak, Jeffrey “Jip” Jeong, Yoogin Seol

AE Compositor: Ramzee Hogan

Cel Animators: Abigail Magno, Andy Lyon, Laura Yilmaz, Sean Buckelew

3D Animators: Jamie Sawyer, Sarah Wolfe

3D Generalists: Chris Finn, Tim Hayward, Jacques Clement, Jessica Ramirez, Mike Cahill

3D Rigger: Tim Hayward

Nuke Compositor: Chris Brown, Matt Lavoy

Music Company: Yessian

Creative Director: Andy Grush

Executive Producer: David Gold

Senior Producer: Katie Overcash

Composers: Jimmy Haun, Andy Grush

Mix Company: Margarita Mix

Mixer: Paul Hurtubise