Ron Foth Advertising Stages a Rap Battle for Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

By Erik Oster 

Columbus-based Ron Foth Advertising launched a campaign for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium with a “Carnivores vs. Herbivores” rap battle. It’s about as ridiculous as it sounds.

The spot pits staff representing the zoo’s carnivorous animals against a similar group representing the zoo’s herbivores. Each group spits rhymes about why carnivores or herbivores are the best, dropping some elementary food chain knowledge in the process. It’s ridiculous almost beyond description, but in a way that, we suppose, may appeal to the target audience of elementary school aged children home for the summer and on the lookout for fun activities. Some of the zoo’s many animals make appearances in the ad as representatives of either Team Carnivore or Team Herbivore, which allows the spot to show off a lot of what the zoo has to offer. Jack Hanna, who serves as the zoo’s director emeritus, even makes an appearance near the conclusion of the spot, showing off his breakdancing moves.

“A group of us were visiting the zoo looking for inspiration for this year’s campaign,” Ron Foth Advertising creative director David Henthorne explained to AdFreak. “One of our kids asked a sweet old volunteer what the alligator eats. She went into a fantastic answer about the alligator being a carnivore, and what that meant, and the difference between carnivores and herbivores. Her answer had this amazing flow. Almost like a rapper. That got us thinking about old-school hip-hop rap battles.”

“We brought in an Emmy-winning choreographer to teach these zookeepers how to groove,” he added. “They spent days rehearsing various routines, all incorporating bushels of veggies and protein.” 


In addition to the “Carnivores vs. Herbivores” online spot, the campaign also includes broadcast and radio ads, digital and OOH components.


Client: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Agency: Ron Foth Advertising, Columbus
Creative Directors: Ron Foth, Jr., David Henthorne
Copywriters: Ron Foth, Jr., David Henthorne, Megan Small
Art Directors: Gene Roy, Mike Wilson, Nikki Murray
Director: Ron Foth, Jr.
Producers: Martin Nowak, Lisa Bauer
Editor: Martin Nowak
Audio: Doug Edwards
Music: Walker Hayes, Nashville