Animals in advertising - Bears 2
Most of the time the strength of the bear is to be taken literally. Sometimes it means performing well.

The third place in order of occurrence is taken by the bear as a symbol for Nature, purity, or environment. The link is rarely obvious and often plainly misleading.

We close with a short word about some ads where you could swap the bear with any other animal big enough.

first published: xi.2002; updated: x.2003, vi.2006

Beresterk is a
Dutch word meaning strong as a bear. It's often used to indicate very good, or best in its kind and also performing exceptionally well. That's how me must read adverts (3), (15) and (17). The urban transport ran the ad during the winter holiday season to convince people not to take any risk and leave the car at home. The choice of the Polar Bears is natural if you take into consideration :
  • It is winter season
  • They will bring us everywhere except to the utmost remote spot on the earth (in popular language = the North Pole. People sometimes use Moskou, or Congo for a remote spot, but the latter at least does not fit the weather.)
  • They like us to know about the top quality service.

(15) 1997 – Strong as a bear — urban transport line
(16) 1992 – Valvert, the pure water — mineral water

When two strong
partners come to work together then the result is unmatched experience and service states ad (18). It looks like a clear example of the bear = strength approach. Take a closer look at an older advert of one of the partners (see ad 19) and you'll know that the previous conclusion was shallow thinking.

Ad 19 says (translated from French) For him, the environment is important. When you are about to order selfadhesive labels, do you take the environment into consideration? … don't use any chlorine. … less environmental risks using sulfate instead of sulfite. …
Thus on this earlier (1993) advert for Raflatac® the bear symbolizes the natural environment. This original green meaning is gone on the advertisement announcing the partnership. This shift was probably not intentional, because more recent adverts (1998) fall back to the original meaning.

(17) 1992 – De Lijn brings you everywhere, except to the North-pole — urban transport line
(18) 1995 – When two strong partners … — selfadhesive labels
(19) 1993 – And You ? — selfadhesive labels

The Polar Bear is
king in the immense blue and whiteness of the arctic. He symbolizes for Tryba uncompromized power and serenity. In this world of pure air and water where everything stands for beauty and perfection, he is life itself. (ad 25 translated from French) I can't state it more clearly : the bear stands for nature. Though the link with the windows escapes me.

Mineral waters love
to stress the purity and the life-giving powers of water. The ebullience of the previous lines makes it understandable that waters sometimes call for a bear. Think of the Pyrenean bear (No. 6) and the Belgian water of advert 16.
Click your safety belt before you read on. Follows the translation from Dutch.
Somewhere in Belgium, there is a hidden and timeless spot pampered by Nature. On this virgin spot rises the Valvert water. The water taking its time. The water that after twenty years of percolating surfaces again tender and pure.
Read [Illustration 1] to understand that this is phantasy.

(20) 1991 – Okay it is your Ford, but it stays our darling — cars
(21) 1990 – Tame your datacomm problems easily — network analyzers
(22) 1992 – What about Russia's future ? — newspaper report

The advert for
the car brand (20) could do with any mother and child picture. Our Elephant page (13) shows an example radiating the same feeling to accomodate medical insurance. You could simply swop the pictures without anybody noticing. Before you raise the point that this example does not follow the USCA green book, let me tell you that we are not looking at an advert for cars. It is a story about the excellent service and skills of the dealer network.

Three main topics
for the seminar: three bears then. The brand uses the same picture for its antibiotic against bronchial infections (see also adverts 8, 10–12).

Phew! What a
relief! (24) belongs to a series about an ointment for haemorrhoids. It does not look like this Polar Bear is very happy with the results. The ad with the elephant is much better. It relates better to the habits of an elephant and the animal shown has a happy look.

(23) 1996 – Activity, tolerance, therapy compliance — seminar
(24) 1997 – Phew! What a relief! - ointment
(25) 1992 – The polar bear reigns … — art-déco style windows

(26) 199? – extra vitamins
(27) 2001 – every call supports WWF

Polar bears are
smart bears (28) starts with a play of sounds in Dutch (Ice bears are wise bears) and continues with a long text around their diet. Polar bears are really sound of mind. They know better than anybody else the advantages of fish oil, the ultimate weapon of nature … A clear example of the popular theme learned from Mother Nature. … And precisely like Polar bears choosing only the best of fish are we using only the purest fish oil … The product then enhances your memory, is good for a stable mind, strenghtens your immune response. The advert can therefore be classified with our examples 8, 10 – 12 all about resistance. There is one problem though. The whole thing is based on the wrong assumption that Polar bears consume a lot of fish. In reality their diet consists mainly of different species of seals. They only occasionaly eat some fish. The product may then give you the best of nature at the sharpest price, the advertisement, however, is sloppy work.

(28) 2006 – more resistance, better memory — omega 3 fatty acids