Manatees are one of the most docile animals in the ocean. One of the best places to spot them has always been Florida. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida manatee deaths increased by 20 percent. Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, told CNN that he believes 1,000 more manatees could die by the end of this year. That’s why Funky Buddha Premium Hard Seltzer has come up with a “funky” way to save the manatees with its first annual Manatee Derby.
The Manatee Derby, taking place on June 8th at 6 PM EST, in honor of World Oceans Day, will feature celebrity guests “maybe,” an announcer, fake jockeys (because you should never ride or touch the creatures), and a half-time show from NSYNC members Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick.
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The brand will also be writing a $30,000 check made out to the Save The Manatee Club for research and rescue. It will match viewers’ donations from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia up to $20,000, according to the brand. Buddha Premium Hard Seltzer said it’s holding the Manatee Derby because supporting clean water charities is an integral part of the brand — not to mention the brand and the manatees rely on clean water to survive, as polluted water means polluted seagrass that the manatees eat.
“Funky Buddha doesn’t do anything the ordinary way,” Creative Director Cora Fernandez said in a news release. “So, we couldn’t take the ordinary approach to help manatees. We needed a funky, unexpected idea that not only kept people entertained but that portrayed these lovable sea cows as strong, heroic animals that you want to root for – and help save. As a creative team, it’s always special when we can create a campaign that makes you laugh while also helping a good cause. I mean, we got to make a manatee race. What else can we ask for?”