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Animals in advertising — Bigger cats
Tiger, Lion, Cheetah, Black Panther and Leopard are the only popular species. Cheetah and Panther stand for Speed or Suppleness, and Power. The other species are commonly used in a more generic way where any big feline could fit in. We note a slight preference depending the need for stripes, a roar, or dots.
It is clear that several writers cannot correctly identify the species at hand. They get tangled in the dots and stripes. Others play it safe and do not risk any further than some obvious allusions about patterns.
first published: vi.2004, updated vii.2004

(1) 2003 – Powerful and flexible management system
(2) 1996 – Make your network printer fast

Speed, Flexibility and
Power are the notions where Cheetahs are good for. The usage is simple and straightforward. You place a picture of a Cheetah and then add some text explaining how fast your car can drive, or how powerful and flexible your software is, or how fast working your drug, or how fast your scanner scans. Our examples (1) – (5) are only part of the range. We could extend the range with a book-keeping software (fast and flexible in 1990), translation services (fast en excellent in 2002), or car lease (flexible and fast as lightning in 1993).

The large cats
are often used in tourism (e.g. No. 6). The Cheetah stands for the wildlife in an African country. Most of the other bigger cats (Leopard, Lion, Tiger) are used in a similar way as well (e.g. Nos. 17, 23).

(3) 2004 – Dynamics explained — car
(4) 1996 – Velocity makes the difference — drug
(5) 1992 – This gives you an idea of the speed of our colour scanner

(6) 199? – African safaris.
(7) 1997 – Want a new workstation?
(8) 199? – Power to your turbo — lubricant

The Black Panther
(which is a black form of a Leopard) means power, and sometimes also professional (which often means more powerful). There is no speed involved. Advert 9 about the networking systems doesn't mention speed once. It is the reliability that counts. This emphasis on professionalism is probably why the Panther is considered appropriate for lubricants (8), but also for Hi-Fi sound and drilling equipment.

The Lion is
an alround player. But although there is no single clear feeling attached to him, we can find him in some situations more often than other cats. No. 10 shows one of the more popular approaches : making fun. Isn't that why we keep kings : for our entertainment ? It is chosen by cough drops (in 1996) and Nos. 12 and 14 on this page. No. 14 about IT-jobs (you don't have to roar to get your point across) is part of a light footed series with different animals (e.g. with Penguins).

(9) 2003 – Buy performance — networking systems
(10) 1995 – Our cultural broadcasts are better than that.

(11) 2003 – Some skills you'll have to learn — consultants
(12) 2001 – An intelligent solution for your prepress workflow — system integrator
(13) 1992 – Washing power a la carte — washing powder

The Lion is
sometimes coupled with sheep to indicate that the brand can comply with everyone's wishes. The washing powder of No. 13 gives you the choice between a tender wash (the sheep) or a more rough go (the lion). A car advert of 1997 takes the same animals to assure us that Everyone will agree with our conditions.

The Tiger is
the most popular cat. She is kind of a passe-partout when you need
  • stripes (Though some people prefer a Zebra.) — e.g. No. 16,
  • or power or speed (but not too explicit) — e.g. Nos. 15, 17
  • or suppleness (but not related with speed) — e.g. orthopaedic products (in 1992)
  • or energy — e.g. energetic life as a programmer (in 2001),
  • or a reference to Asia — e.g. No. 17, or Bangladesh (in 1995),
  • or simply some colour in your advertisement — e.g. a TV set You need more than almost perfect colour to stand a Bengal Tiger. (in 198?).

(14) 2001 – Communication doesn't mean you have to roar — IT jobs
(15) 2003 – Unleash the power of XML

(16) 2001 – Get your stripes — barcode systems
(17) 1998 – Who's fast in Asia? — express delivery
(18) 19?? – Victory over nature — skin care products

Advertisements 18 (Tiger)
and 11 (Lion) are worth mentioning because we only need a young individual regardless of the species. We have seen the same approach with Elephants (13), Penguins (21) and Bears (20). There is always an element of tenderness, or care. I suppose that the first (or cheapest) picture at hand was taken, without much thinking.

(19) 2000 – The natural selection — imaging systems
(20) 2000 – The natural selection when competition is fierce. — imaging systems
(21) 2000 – A natural selection when competition is fierce. — imaging systems

Now, this really
is a mess (19 – 21). Firstly, let's take our Oxford English reference dictionary and look some definitions up.
  • wildcat: a smallish cat of a non-domesticated kind, or (U.S.) a bobcat (it's also an adj. meaning financially unsound, reckless)
  • tiger-cat: a moderate-sized striped feline, e.g. the ocelot, serval, margay.
  • tiger: a large powerful feline, Panthera tigris, having a tawny yellow coat with black stripes
  • bobcat: a small North American lynx, Felis rufus, with a spotted reddish-brown coat and a short tail.
  • puma: a large American feline, Felis concolor, with a usu. tawny or greyish coat. Also called cougar, panther, mountain lion.

The English Wildcat
system (No. 19) comes with a Puma. The English Tigercat system (No. 20) is shown with a Tiger. Neither Puma nor Tiger fits one of the animals suggested by the name of the system. The French version (No. 21) of the advert for the Wildcat shows a Tiger who's supposed to support the Tigercat system. You could suggest that they made a mistake with the title, but they did not because the accompanying picture of the device is the Wildcat indeed.
I wonder who's come up with those devicenames. Look at adverts 22 (and patterned with dots) and 25 (changing your spots) and learn that in printing it is the dot that counts. Leopards have dots. Cheetahs have dots. Even Jaguars and lots of other felines. But dots aren't an obvious feature of either a Puma, nor a Tiger. It must have been the animal of choice of some high-ranking official in the company, no one else would get away with this.

(22) 2000 – Sleek, powerful, imposing — proofing system
(23) 2001 – Exquisite wildlife combined with luxurious comfort.

Snow  leopard
(24) 2003 – Make sure you can act fast — ADSL internet
(25) 1995 – If you want the lion's share … — second hand presses
(26) 1990 – Powerful, fast and silent — plotter

Because the caption
of No. 24 says Make sure you can act fast the cat should be a speed-cat. We therefore are surprised to find Leopard's legs instead of Cheetah's. It's a double mystery because the Leopard is a solitary animal and the internet is in my opinion very much about connecting with other people. The advert is part of a series. Look at the Zebra version.

(27) 199? – Would you rather prefer a mouse ? — carburant

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