How we bagged a Biggy for Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital

He’s a bird, a real wild one, and the avian son of the Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop: that’s why Biggy Pop is the perfect founding Patron for our client, Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital. This is how we made it happen.

“We need a patron for Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital,” said its CEO and Founder Dr Steve Van Mil, running his finger along the edge of a vinyl record sleeve to slide out a limited print Stooges live album. “Someone like Iggy Pop!” he smirked. As head of Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital’s marketing agency, I knew he was only half-joking, testing my reaction. The idea of Iggy Pop being a “patron” of a veterinary hospital was ludicrous, but alluring.

I knew that Iggy had a pet cockatoo called Biggy Pop, with his own Instagram page. Why don’t we ask Biggy?

Ideas are good, but need energy to become reality. Iggy performed at Byron Bay Bluesfest in 2013 and 2019, so I made contact with Festival Director Peter Noble and asked if he’d connect us with Biggy via Iggy.

I knew the pitch needed to be simple, authentic. I wrote it as invitation for Biggy, addressed to Biggy’s ‘dad’ and protector, Iggy. Iggy’s tactile affection and love for his pet Moluccan cockatoo was obvious from his Instagram posts; punk pioneers love their pets as much as anyone.

“Iggy, the idea of Biggy being an inaugural ambassador for our wildlife hospital fills us with joy, for several reasons: he’s a bird, and a real wild one, he has 14 species of cockatoo cousins in Australia, hundreds of thousands of whom perished in Australia’s catastrophic Black Summer bushfires, and we’re based in Byron Bay, Australia, where you performed (and rocked hard) at Byron Bay Bluesfest last year.”

The response from Iggy’s management was beautifully simple: “He said ‘yes’.” Over the weeks that followed, we were given access to to use imagery and video from Biggy’s Instagram and provided with quotes from Iggy. We learned the melancholy story about how they met, and about Iggy Pop’s compassion for the animal kingdom. We wanted to make a global audience aware of Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital and the critical need for specialist veterinary care for injured and traumatised native animals, but also highlight this side of a man many would know only through his incendiary, high energy stagecraft.

We created an IGTV video and prepared a press release to share the news globally. It went boom instantly, attracting almost 25,000 Instagram views and gaining coverage in Rolling Stone, NME, Pitchfork, Yahoo, Monster Children, Musicfeeds, ABC Online among many other news and entertainment media. Presenting Biggy Pop as the star of the show was the clincher; what better way to create awareness of a wildlife hospital than a wild bird with his own Instagram following and rockstar connections?

Biggy Pop’s patronage is cool, it’s fun: it’s also a powerful way to bring attention to the ongoing need to fund specialist care to prevent and treat suffering of injured and traumatised wildlife in Australia, and overseas. Biggy’s post about the announcement cited both Australia’s catastrophic bushfires and those devastating the American West Coast this year, highlighting that wildlife everywhere are critically important to the health of our planet. We’re looking forward to working with you Biggy, #forthewildlife.

Feature image courtesy of Nina Alu, Biggy’s Manager.