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Animals in advertising - Fish - Sharks
Sharks are dangerous. Sharks are killers.
Never trust a shark.
Sharks stand for danger, threat, unpleasant surprise. They are in this way the easiest fish to deal with. Their use is straightforward and even when they are shown in a humorous way something of a nasty flavour is never far away.
Observe how sharks impersonate a hidden threat. A visible risk, an obvious danger is usually suggested with terrestrial heavy-weights like Rhinoceros and Hippopotamus.
©  first published: VI.2001; updated: X.2001, XI.2008  Nederlands

  The software suite  of ad (1) is a typical example. The Shark plays the role of unpleasant news lurking below the surface and suddenly popping up. We have related ads where the shark warns against unforeseen costs for your car (leasing brings back your peace of mind) or where the beast makes us aware of the risks in not using the appropriate software to probe our company databases.

  The proof print  must be very realistic indeed (2). Look at the operator. He's not sure he has only a print at hand. The writer elaborates about the superb technology, even mentions minimal pollution and closes with Learn how predictable your work could be. Colour proofing is indeed one of the situations where predictability is considered a plus. Observe how the standard triggers for reliable colour are present: a white sheet with colour reference bar. (See [colourful fish] ad 5)

 
(1) 1996 - ... Gives you the bad news before it surfaces - management software (2) 1994 - Exceptionaly good in predicting the end-result. - colour proofing systems
 
  Only a living  photographer is a good photographer (3).
In some situations trust in your gear is everything. Steel is entirely trustworthy to protect you against the number one bad fish. In this case the shark is a shark and not the symbol for something unwanted.
 
(3) 2001 - Strenght - steel (4) 1995 - Success. It's a mind game - wrist-watch
 
  Something if not  everything escapes me in the mind game of example (4). The picture shows four sharks with a competition swimmer and states Success. It's a mind game. I would think that staying ahead in this case is a matter of survival. Or ... No, the sharks probably aren't sharks. They are competitors. But even now. Even the strongest conviction to win is nothing without a bit of physical exercise. And it certainly is not a game. Or must we understand game related with hunting? I give up. What may have happened in my youth that I fail to interpret any watch-ad? (See [Tropical fish] and [Illustration 2])

  Examples (5) and  (6) aren't any better. Both suffer of a spasmodic effort to include the shark and end up only with a twirly plot.

(5) Send him to your ex.
Everybody knows that a nice smile works wonders. Therefore: first film a shark in the aquarium ... then download ... finally e-mail to you-know-who. What a blow! Every big shark would be proud.
How good a story-writer is needed for this? The nice smile makes the link with the picture. There is no other connection: the camcorder has no feature in common with the shark, the text says nothing about the product.

 
(5) 2000 - Send him to your ex - cam corder (6) 1984 - Learn how daring you are - credit insurance (7) 2003 - Fiercely independent - paper
 
  The shark of  example (6) probably represents customers not paying their bills. The business-man pulls a nose at them. The long text explains why we should take a credit insurance. The caption of the picture says Discover how daring you are which is sloppy work and doesn't fit with the story about avoiding risk, and taking precaucions. A better caption would have been something like How do you outsmart ... — But wait a minute. The man could as well represent the client not paying his bills and turning his nose up at the creditor (the shark).
This advert is ambiguous. Who's the addressee and what does it means becomes only clear after reading the dull text.

  The goldfish of  example (7) is not afraid to take on the competition nose to nose. They have the courage to be independent with a personal and unique approach. They are the Goldfish, naturally.

 
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