Animals in advertising - Insectivora - Hedgehog
Hedgehogs carry spines and when threatened they roll up and the spines form an impenetrable barrier. This natural protection system is an irresistible hook for copy writers.

Flat Hedgehogs are a common occurrence on our roads and therefore the species gladly appears in adverts for brakes and car lights. They can also substitute for the environment.

Finally, we also have some cases where we do not see why a Hedgehog was chosen.

first published: v.2020

Hedgehogs are covered
with spines and they often meet their end flattened out on a country road. These simple facts are what the examples (1) – (4) allude to. Presumably the writer actually spared a moment or two thinking about hedgehogs and their everyday life and — more often — death.

For the dot
matrix printer (1) it is the number of spines that matter. Hedgehogs carry many and so does this printer. The print head of the type in the advert counts no less than 24 needles compared to 8 of 9 in older types. The larger the number, the better the print and this version even managed to produce near letter quality print. Because of the technology which is based on impact, these printers could create carbon — and later on carbonless — copies. There was no need to print a second form of which you are not sure it really is a copy of the first. At the time you could therefore buy continuous copy paper with tractor holes and we have an advert for this kind of paper in our chapter about Fish (see Colourfull fish No. 11). Zebra-fish were used probably because Zebras are often shown in a context about copies and copy protection.

(1) 199? – 24 pins for perfection in print — dot matrix printer
(2) 1997 – Road users are growing to appreciate our lights — car headlights
(3) 199? – Ultimately all road users benefit from our brakes — ABS brakes

Our next examples
(2 – 4) allude to the sad situation that when we encounter a Hedgehog it often is on the road and then, most frequently, the poor animal is flattened.

The advert for car headlights (2) features a representative range of species which can be found as traffic victims. There is no other thing that they have in common with each other, nor with the subject of the advert. The text is rather convoluted in its attempt to emphasize the achievement in light technology while urging us along the way to install it in our vehicles because we want to give the critters crossing the road a better chance of survival.
The road at night is full of surprises. A fraction of a second can be the only difference between being seen or being seen no more. Fortunately, the drive to make driving at night safer is being led by Bosch. … Then follows the technical stuff and the closing sentence is … This should bring a little light relief to every road user, however small.
The writer makes no connection with the critters except in a convulsive attempt to throw a chuckle in. We notice a play with words : being seen and being seen no more; the drive to make driving; little light relief. In my opinion it is making fun of the victims. And of course there is absolutely no guarantee that a driver noticing a Hedgehog in his path will hit the brakes.

This brings us
to No. 3 where our Hedgehog features in an advertisement for a car which is equiped with an ABS brake system. Here the writer again alludes to the short lifespan of Hedgehogs on our roads. Here again he tries to smuggle a chuckle in. Would it not have been preferable to show a person instead of a small critter? That would much better illustrate the need for an emergency stop. For a Hedgehog a slight change of course certainly suffices — with no more than an additional soft touch on the brake, maybe.

In I defend
the environment (4) the army explains that the army is not only about kill them all. Join the army and help save the environment. There is of course the allusion to the less pleasant side of a Hedgehog's existence, but in this advert the meaning of the animal has grown. It now is a stand-in for the environment in general.

(4) 2005 – I defend the environ­ment — join the army
(5) 2001 – Defend yourself — air defence systems
(6) 1995 – Man also has his natural defense system — dairy products

In our next
examples (5, 6) the approach is different. We recognize the Mother Nature tune which is played very often. We are back with the spines but the important thing is now the entire collection of spines. Hedgehogs carry many, between 5 000 and 7 000 (), spines and together these form a unique self-defense system when the animal curls up — though this behaviour is not very helpful in the situations shown in Nos 2 – 4.

Sometimes it's mother
nature that takes care of protection against external threats (5). That is how it works for Hedgehogs, but when it comes to defending peace and freedom, … then you better trust the state-of-the-art equipment of No. 5. If your country is threatened then their defence systems will help you put up your spines, just like the Hedgehog's.

Just like the
Hedgehog man also has his own natural defence system says No. 6. The title is followed by a long text with words like immune system, natural resistance, well-being, science, Lactobacillus, and so on. We can summarize it as : sometimes man's system comes under stress and then Chambourcy's new generation of fresh dairy products comes to the rescue.

(7) 1998 – When the stomach puts on its spines — solution for dyspepsia
(8) 2004 – Splitting headache ? — antipyretic pain relief

There is probably
no sector other than medicines which uses that many species for its adver­tising. We have bears, cats, elephants, fish, horses, lamas, … all helping to sell pills, capsules, sprays, ointments, and suppositories, you name it. And now we can add Hedgehogs to the list. They are not the best choice for the sector and to look at their meager performance hurts a little.

The solution for
indigestion (7) refers to the spines with when the stomach puts its spines out. That's it. There is no other mention of the species or one of its characteristics.

Splitting headache ? Felled
by a fever ? (8) suffers from the same problem. The product is needed when fever and pain require a firm answer. A Hedgehog curls up when it is disturbed. Is that the resolute remedy they are talking about ? Is the animal curled up in misery and is that the connection ? I can't tell because there is no mention of the species or one of its characteristics.

(9) 1992 – More thrilling on our stock — printing paper

Our last example
probably needs some explanation. We have chosen to put the Porcupine (9) in the current chapter because ● we have only one occurrence in our collection and ● it has a more or less similar appearance as the Hedgehog.

No. 9 is an inconceivably difficult story. The image shows a red balloon, left behind on the ground, with a Porcupine coming dangerously close. The anticipation of what could happen is electrifying. But it is more electrifying on this Royalpress, a kind of paper meant for web-fed offset printing. A page-long text tries to explain why a meeting with the client only becomes really exciting on this paper. It is written as if the press operator meets the client on paper and not in real life. I tried my best, but the whole story still escapes me.

Chapters about Insectivora

 I am aware that the order Insectivora as a grouping of mammals which are eating insects is now abandoned. At the time of writing hedgehogs (Erinaceidae) and moles (Talpidae) were families within the order Eulipotyphla. : Hedgehog biology — website visited on 30.iv.2020
The number of spines varies widely according to the source : on average approximately 5000, or over 5000 on average, or up to 6000 spines, or approximately 7000 quills, or between 5000 and 9000, or … Have fun, try it on your favourite search engine.