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Animals in advertising - Fish
 Bear 2
 Cat 2
 Fish 2 3 4
 Horse 2 3
 Sea Mammals 2 3
Fish can sell a surprisingly wide range of products and services: cars, drugs, computers, pension plans, steel, e-mail outsourcing, etc. All feel like a bit of fish wouldn't harm their case. Fish stand out because they are not used to add a green touch. Copy-writers never find any strong point of fish in their subject. More, they almost never find anything good in fish. They only exceptionally suggest a link with a feature of the individual shown. Many fish are in fact completely superfluous in their own act. It's their living-quarters - the fish-bowl - that matters.
©  first published: VI.2001; updated: X.2001, VI.2002, VI.2006  Nederlands

  The language expressed  by fish and their bowl is not very rich.
No brand seems eager to add something fishy to their products (except for swimming gear perhaps). They keep thus quiet about the goods proper and sell the warm feeling that will flood us after the purchase.

  The fish favoured  by most writers is the Goldfish. Other colourful fish come second, sharks far behind and other fish like sardine, herring and piranha are only rarely called upon.

(1) 2001 - Private Banking
Feeling oppressed by makeshift solutions?
(2) 1999 - Complete freedom with our driving-gear (3) 1995 - This is no carreer.
  Goldfish stand for  something valuable is missing.
The vessel - a bowl, a bag, a screen! - impersonates restrictions, confinement, unhappiness in several situations. Ads (1) - (4) show some typical examples.
The car (4) illustrates the straighforward approach: we are talking physical space. ample elbow- and leg-room. The juxtaposition in (2) speaks for itself: a sea of possibilities. Ad (3) is a very common and easy approach. Imprisoned in your current job? Goldfish transmits the idea. Often seen with IT-jobs, but can sell many products.

  Sometimes the fish  escapes (literally) from the jar and then stands for freedom, challenge, improvement, the future (5, very obvious 6 and, in another way, 7).

We have several similar ads for other products in our archives.

(4) 1988 - Giving more room (inside)
without taking more (outside)
(5) 2000 - Fan out for innovation (6) 2002 - Leap ahead of your competition

  The story of  Air ... Now! (7) is a jumble. The poor animal somehow got out of the bowl and desperately cries for air while it's surrounded by a massive volume of the stuff! This fish needs water much more than air to get the necessary oxygen.
But strange enough, the message is sound and clear.

  The GOLD SERVICE  of (8) is remarkable because clearly directly referring to the colour of the fish. Observe how in this case the reader (you!) sits inside the bowl. The designer unknowingly signals a not so positive appreciation of our wheeled living quarters.

  The Household fuel  (9) is a tell-tale sign about the attitude of the copy-writer against the animal world. You need only so much to feel comfortable (or at home). The man (no doubt) seems to know that the fish feels entirely happy in a empty bowl crunching crumbs. (Are teeth needed to crunch?) I sentence him to some weeks of community work in jail.

(7) 19?? - Air ... Now! (8) 1995 - Clearly the best - GOLD SERVICE - the human touch (9) 1997 - Household fuel
  My favoured fish-ad  is the one for the Citroën (10) taking a bend in the road. In any other car the boy would be soaked. There is no direct connection with the fish, yet nothing else would perform better. In 2005 a bus company brings an advertisement which is quite similar at first glance (14). The new lines will move everybody to everywhere everyday which means that the standard conventions apply: the fish bowl stands for the restricted freedom of movement soon to be remedied.

  The fish staring  at the floor (11) don't add anything to the message. They could have been replaced by almost everything equiped with eyes.

  The next goldfish  is hilarious (12). The brochure opens with a small world and on the inside continues with Everyday surprising facts can be discovered in the fascinating richness of the living world.... Guess what, we are talking about coated paper for presses! The same supplier has a weak spot for bears also.
It's perhaps time to take a quick look at advert 15. Is this pure coïncidence?

(10) 1991 - The Citroën XM taking a bend (11) 2000 - Some floors catch all attention. (12) 1998 - A small world grandiose (ambitious?) on Magno.
  The dazzling colours  ad for fast colour printers is packed with ideas (13). The bright fish (the colours) jumps out of the ordinary (the cloned plants) with the bleak colours (the dark pool). The water is frozen in action and in this way proves the speed of the system.

Bright colour is good, but realistic and reliable colour is better. There is only one professional way to plant that in our mind: a white sheet with a colour reference bar. We will see the same approach repeated several times. (F.e. in ad 12 on this page. See also Colourful fish ad 5)

(13) Dazzling colours (14) 2005 - Mobility for everyone - urban transport
(15) 2005 - Out-of-the-bowl thinking
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