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Animals in advertising - Penguins
|Penguins are popular actors in advertisements.
That is because they are so cute, so human, so funny.
Penguins aren't good messengers, though.
Because unlike lions, horses, owls ..., penguins stand for
no specific feature.
It makes them difficult to cast. Only very few of our samples surpass the take-away allusions about ice, cold, or heat.
Emperor's, King's and Adelie penguin are most often used, but Gentoo, Magellanic, Chinstrap and two new creations were also found.
|©||first published: VI.2001; updated: II.2002, II.2003, VI.2004, VI.2006||Nederlands|
can't possibly adhere to one of the more popular green statements.
They aren't particularly good for the environment, don't save endangered species and they don't cement our relationship with Earth's wonders either. No wonder they (1, 2) took the learned from Mother Nature path: In-depth research reveals that penguins and streamline are almost synonymous.
|(1) 1999 - In-depth research produces our best ideas = cars||(2) 1999 - Innovation is our second nature = cars||(3) 1991 - Room for people = cars|
| After reading
both versions of the text, my conclusion is that
the German text is probably the original that was afterwards translated
into English. I consider the German header the best and the text
written with more care.
The German text says: ... is the body-shape of the penguin clearly
better streamlined than any known man-made shape. Almost as good is
|(4) Penguins aren't stupid. If they loose footing it's because they lack our traction control. = cars||(5) 2000 - Continuity sometimes requires you to skate on thin ice. = jobs in IT|
Other car brands also ask for a little support by penguins.
The Gentoo ad (3) is the cover-page of a brochure for a monovolume car.
Several statements about people are illustrated with the appropriate animal,
a technique that is often used and by several brands. Why a penguin?
I guess it's because the Gentoo seems to escape into space. (Another page of the
brochure features a dolphin.)
control inteligente de tracción
of ad (4) still contains something of
the improved Nature's design rhyme - penguins
wouldn't slip if only they had the car's traction control system - but the funny undertone can't
|(6) 2003 - Your car-dealer gives you an airco for free.||(7) 2000 - Cool career moves in high-tech IT.|
|If there is one single strong trigger for penguin, it's cold (and related words like ice, winter etc.). Our first example is advert 6 for a car with an air-conditioning system on board. It's a typical setting to suggest freedom. Almost all four-wheel drive vehicles choose for it. Because cars love to add a touch of adventure, a much better choice of animal would have been a polar bear. (Read about our USCA green book for car adverts.) Advert 13 also would benefit from a polar bear or two, but for a completely different reason.|
|(8) 1988 - Electric heating||(9) 1995 - Drug||(10) 2000 - Industrial sensors|
penguins in Antarctica can stand the cold (8). The text then continues
about heat and warmth in our homes and ends with Warmly recommended.
The story book may be poorly written, the choice of the species is very appropriate.
Emperors are the most antarctic of all penguins. This advert is also peculiar because
the penguin is used in relation to a heating system. Most copywriters tend make the
link with cooling systems (e.g. ad 6, 13).
The drug lowers the risk of heart-attack by 62% (9). The line of thinking probably was minus 62 - that's very cold - very cold? - penguins - got it!. Don't miss the young bird. Early visitors to the Antarctic didn't recognize the chicks as the same species. It's possible that the chick's put there to convey we care. Young animals are often used for this purpose: e.g. advert 21 on this page with penguins, but also with a bear (20) and an Elephant (13).
|(11) 1999 - Educational programs||(12) Jump ahead = investment advice|
| I wouldn't
pay for the extremely sloppy work of ads (11), (12), (13) and (14).
The first ad (11) is about education and the allusion is just plainly wrong. The text says Zorg dat je bij blijft which means Try to keep abreast, keep your knowledge up-to-date.. The image suggests Zorg dat je er bij blijft with the very different literal meaning of Don't fall behind the group.
The Get ahead with the jumping Adelie (12) isn't any better. Look carefully at the picture. The snow is already trampled where the bird yet has to land. Unless snow shows the same behaviour as tea-leafs, the bird is a follower like most.
|(13) 2003 - Keep cool at home = air-co||(14) 2003 - Rockhopper = inkjet printer|
purpose of ad 13 is to direct you to some suggestions to
keep the temperature in your home from climbing to uncomfortable levels. The composition
of the image is straightforward with penguins and an igloo. I do agree that
copy-writers need some freedom to do their work, but it shouldn't be an excuse
to skip all research. An Igloo is an eskimo house and is an Arctic phenomenon. Penguins
are animals of the Antarctic. A good designer would have chosen a polar bear.
is the name of the inkjetprinter of ad 14.
|(15) 2002 - It's christmas already = shopping mall||(16a) 2002 - He would appreciate a bit of magic||(16b) 2002 - the magic of extremes = printing paper|
| He would benefit
from a bit of magic, says the first page of a double-page advert for printing paper (16a). The
name of the product is Contraste because of its excellent qualities resulting
in a very good contrast. The idea is impersonated on the second page (16b).
But what's the use of the first page? Out of the many possible ways of showing contrast,
why did they fall for the penguins? Placing penguins in a hot desert, in my opinion,
is more about being lost than about contrast. This feeling is only intensified by
the poor penguin in the fridge.
In 2005 we've seen a better use of a penguin in a desert. A King's penguin standing on a huge block of ice is talking to a camel (see Camel ad 5). The idea is that this company is trying just a trifle harder to make the impossible happen.
|(17) 2001 - A giant's step = computers||(18) multicopy paper||(19) Money attracts money|
| It's not always
the penguin who's lost in the wrong landscape. Sometimes humans are dropped
between inquisitive penguins. First we have a piano-player rather willing to play in
Carnegie Hall (18). The inconvenience could have been avoided using
the correct paper for the transport documents. But now he's stuck between two
species: Adelies at a safe distance and a music loving creature which is
a drawing, not a picture.
The same approach is used in sample 22 where a guy in beachwear is stared at by
a Chinstrap penguin. The caption says Not every place is right for everyone.
The accompanying text continues with This also applies to data in your
company and after a long winding road points out that Not all
data is equal. Store it accordingly.
|(20) 2000 - Opportunities letting nobody cold||(21) 2002 - It's natural to want to be cared for = airline||(22) 2005 - Not every place is right for everyone = datastorage|
| The tooth paste for sensitive teeth (ad 27) chooses for contrast without placing things in the wrong environment. Instead two scenes are reflecting
each other: a cold ice-tea followed by a cup of hot chocolate. Your teeth won't budge.
Great fun to look at.
A giant's step for
humanity. A small step for your budget (17). Rings a bell? I suppose the penguins
are there because it was just the first picture at hand.
dresscode joke of advertisement 18 isn't the only advert with a
funny undertone (see also 4, 6).
Ad (20) is a rather elementary one which is stubbornly trying to
be funny. The text says Opportunities letting nobody cold.
No official dresscode. Casual allowed. Come, it will be hot there.
|(23) 1995 - Colour printer||(24) 1994 - Vodka||(25) 2005 - Cut CO2 and it's amazing what you save|
| The approach of advertisement
26 is in fact very much the same as our French example (ad 16). Both are about
paper with a coating guaranteing excellent colour print results. Notice how penguins, and
certainly King's and Emperor's (e.g. ad 14, 16, 26), are often used in relation to colour.
Even black and white species are ready to jump in, often after a bit of image-editing.
Ad 23 is a typical example. We have a brochure about colour copiers
(dated 9 years later) where a bunch of black and white Adelie penguins dive (they love jumping, e.g. ad 7, 12) into
a Sea of Colour and during the flight transform into a colourful novum species.
Inside the document King's penguins tell us about the power of colour.
The story telling in advertisement 25 isn't as straightforward as in our other examples. Reduce emissions and help protect the environment. Cut the carbon dioxide and you'll fight global warming. That will keep the world's climate cool and prevent the melting down of the Antarctic ice shield which would play havoc with the region's ecosystem. The penguins stand for the climat we're used to in recent times and by extension also for the whole Antarctic, even the whole world. I've no other advertisement where penguins are loaded with so much meaning.
|(26) 2003 - Bright White Front and back = board paper|
|(27) 200? - Carefree enjoy warm and cold = tooth paste|
Suggested reading about Penguins:
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