Animals in advertising – Rhinoceros
Rhinoceroses () are large and weigh over a tonne. They can attack with an impressive speed.

Therefore, they are usually instructed to signify danger, or adventure: a milder form of danger. But they may also be choosen to illustrate (processing) power of computers.

We have also one example where its horn is important.

first published: xii.2022
Usage type: danger and adventure

Adventure and freedom
is a combination, which is irresistable for copywriters building a car advert. We have seen it with Hippos, Elephants, and now with Rhinoceros.

The image of advert No. 1 is rather well done. Most of the proud owners of this vehicle will never experience this situation, but still, if they do — some car brands talk about the city safari — they certainly will appreciate a car which they can trust to be fast and reliable. The accompanying text, however, is toe-curlingly stupid and silly. We can live with the title (translated from Dutch) Mr. Vanheck would be happy to tell you about the power of his new Landcruiser Wagon, but he is busy for a while now. Not brilliant, but not stupid either, and it brings the reader in the right mood to absorb the message.

Then comes the body text which is of a different level. Fasten your seat belts :

With a 5-tonne pachyderm behind him, Mr. Vanheck remains icy calm like a polar explorer. He just steps on the tail of his [car] which sprints away like a gazelle. Its lion's heart … delivers the power of 170 horses, the beastly injection engine even 215 hp. This four-wheel drive is therefore a mighty draft animal … It can also take eight passengers who are enthroned like a maharaja on his elephant. … And whether mister … now drives in the savannah or in the polders, he enjoys royally. Like he says: I multiply my driving pleasure by 4 × 4.
Apart from one tiny fact, a 5 tonne pachyderm, nothing relates to the Rhino. Though reliable figures are difficult to find on the web (), five tons is probably an exceptionally heavy Rhinoceros.

(1) 19?? – Multiply your driving pleasure by 4 × 4
— all terrain vehicle.
(2) 2009 – For those who love adventure
— all terrain vehicle.

In For those who
love adventure and Never before has inaccessible terrain been so accessible (2) no feature of the Rhino is recognized in the car. The animal represents nature, wilderness, safari, adventure, and this again brings the city wilderness to the mind. Contrary to the city safari with a Hippopotamus —where the unexpected is something to be avoided—, adventure here is something to be desired. The Rhino is not very important; any species which can be seen on safari would do.

The same holds true for the next advert (3). It is also for an all terrain vehicle for the city under the title: The new generation. Even the roughest lands have found a worthy opponent. Again the Rhino is not important and again any larger species reminescent of safari would do.

We have here three brands selling 4 × 4 vehicles with the assistance of a Rhino­ceros and none of the brands find even a single strong characteristic of the animal back in their product. This is remarkable because cars, and certainly off-road vehicles, as a rule adhere to the Universal Standard for Car Adverts (USCA), which states that, amongst other things, a) the writer should find some interesting facts about the chosen animal and that b) it should be possible to relate the chosen facts to features of the car. Learn more about USCA in our section about Bears where you also will find examples of adverts for other 4 × 4 vehicles following the more common practice.

(3) 2001 – Can one desire more freedom?
— all terrain vehicle.
(4) 2000 – Without sound it is often too late
— hearing aid.

Without sound it
is often too late (4) is an advertisement for a hearing aid. In this setting the Rhino very clearly means danger and impending disaster. The scene comes with a long text about the company and the importance of good hearing and not one word is spent on the animal, its features, or its behaviour.

Usage type: strength and power

(5) 1997 – All components on a single chip
— DVD hardware.
Your next computer
needs to be faster and have more calculating power. Speed for compu­ters is often illustrated with bigger cats like Cheetah, or Leopard. Rhinos are huge, and powerful, and can charge very quickly, so they are also a good choice (5, 6). Neither advert mentions any feature of the species.

(6) 1997 – a real muscleman — computer.
(7) 20?? – A nose for business. — job advert.
(8) 2011 – Like to sink your teeth into challenging assignments ? — job advert.

Usage type: the horn is important

Do you have
a nose for business? (7) is part of a series which features i.a. also a Giraffe, and a Rabbit. The text opens with a sentence fitting the species shown: e.g. for the Rabbit Like to sink your teeth into challenging assignments? and Come out of your pipe.

It is remarkable that a species was choosen with only one horn on its nose. A Rhino with two horns wouldn't work in this scene. Weak point, however, is that the reader is supposed to ignore the fact that the most prominent feature on a rhino's head is the horn, not the nose. The question is therefore beside the point.

On one occasion Rhino and Rabbit do the work together (8) and in this case the Rabbit–teeth question is followed by a Rhino–nose recommendation.

Our conclusion is
that copywriters don't know how to handle a Rhinoceros. When Rhinos are used, they are most frequently not choosen for anything specific to their kind; the Rhino could easily be replaced by another heavy-weight of the animal kingdom. The most appropriate casting of the Rhino is probably seen in our No. 1: the animal is huge and fast and figures dangerously close in the rearview mirror. Unfortunate that the text is so worthless.

  Several species of Rhinoceros do exist, but for our purpose we consider making a distinction between them not important. However, people in the know will notice that our examples feature distinct species. In my opinion adverts Nos. 1–5 may show the White, No. 6 the Black, and No. 7–8 the Indian Rhinoceros.
  The website Animalia Facts ( says … their average weight ranges from 3 to 5 tons. A table on the same page however gives only 2500 kg for the average adult male weight of the largest species. —
Wikipedia ( gives 2400 kg for the same, but doesn't tell if this is an average or a maximum. —
The Rhino Resource Center ( gives a range of 1800 to 2700 kg. (sites visited on 29.xi.2022)