Animals in advertising - Crustaceans
Crustaceans are rarely chosen and have very little to say. Almost never is there a connection between one of their characteristics and a property of the product. And if there is a connection, then the link is very weak.

Our examples suggest that crustaceans show a certain affinity with luxury and the good life. Crabs are attracted to luxury (specially watches) and lobsters are a symbol for it.

first published: ii.2024

In the advertising world
, crabs are irresistibly attracted to wristwatches, especially if they, the watches, are waterproof (1 – 3). For other watches a bear, or tropical fish may be used. In none of the cases do we understand why exactly a bear, fish, or crab was chosen. We have to guess.

Advertisement 2 can help us get started. The title (in Dutch) sounds Admired by colleagues. And crustaceans. Below the image of the product we see a crab shouting Cool!. The text explains the reason for the admiration (translated from Dutch):

The ideal underwater companion. Especially for professional divers from the Equipe Cousteau on their scientific expeditions. Such as in 2004 in the Red Sea. … And has of course been the number 1 topic of conversation among the sea inhabitants ever since. Ending with Engineered for men in English.
(1) 2009 – More than a watch. — watch for divers
(2) 2006 – Admired by Crustaceans. — watch for divers
(3) 2001 – For those with instinct.— waterproof watch

So in the Nos. 1 & 2 the crab may stand in for all the creatures living at the bottom of the sea and who are flabbergasted by the technology carried by the divers visiting their underwater world.

We recognize an approach which is commonly seen in many advertisements, certainly for technology rich products: refer to professional users of the product in order to emphasize the superior quality and the many capabilities that can also be appreciated by ordinary users. Notice also the obligatory light humour that should win over the doubters. In my opinion, the advertise­ment would be better without trying to tickle our funny bone.

For those with instinct (3) however remains a mystery. What does instinct have to do with the wearer of the watch? What instinct does the crab follow towards the watch? Questions, questions, … and it doesn't stop here.

The list continues with advertisement (4) for a French mini car which states (from Dutch) For him, you would really do everything and also Pinch my arm because I think I'm dreaming. Once you are aware of the extensive equipment of this car, no one nor anything will be able to stop you. The model is sold under the name Key West and this may, via a detour through Florida, explain the beach setting with sand and crabs and swimshorts. But does it make any sense in combination with the accompanying copy?

(4) 1997 – You would do every­thing for him — car
(5) 2010 – So quiet you can talk again. — cooker hood
(6) ? – Where do you spend the rest of the year? — refrigerator

Where do you spend
the rest of the year (6) and So quiet you can talk again (5) are both about kitchen appliances. Both try to steal a chuckle from the reader, I think. The first (5) for the quiet cooker hood is rather well done where the clean layout evokes an open kitchen situation and a friendly atmosphere not disturbed by the noise of a fan. But why the crayfish?

We can ask the same question about the refrigerator of No. 6. We learn from the introduction to the page long recommendation that All lobsters, but also all oysters, trout, rabbits and turkeys will agree and rather prefer this specific brand. Halfway through, another sentence stands out: Life becomes a lot more pleasant with a Liebherr refrigerator. I take that this must refer to its owner, not to its residents. But again, why the lobsters? Aimed at a higher income class? Are they after the chuckle?

(7) 1997 – Why use a big scanner? — compact scanner
(8) 2002 – That's why — digital printer

Small job? Why use
a big scanner (7) is obviously meant to make you smile. The poor animal wears reading glasses and needs to open a tiny peanut. His giant pincers are clearly not the best tool. So I understand that we have to choose the most suitable tool for the job. But why the lobster? The text is lacking any hint.

The digital printer advert (8) is clearly aimed at professionals, evidenced by the presence of colour measuring strips (see also [Illustration 5] – True Colour). In this advert, however, the animal is not used for its colour. The lobster must demonstrate how the result can be persona­lized on a digital printer (original in French): Your marketing is finally personalized: you offer a lobster to one customer, a chop to another. It is clear that any species, even any thing, would do. The lobster is not important.

(9) 2002 – Make a bigger breakthrough. — early smartphone
(10) ???? – Just keep eating your fish. — pension plan

I know, this is getting boring
, but also in the next example I can only make a wild guess about what that lobster is doing there. No. 9 is an advert for what we today would call a smart phone. They call the device a Communicator and it provides email, internet, wordprocessing, calendar, fax (!), and phone. You may also download new applications from their Software Market. The only reason I can think of for the presence of the lobster is that one of those applications is the Michelin red Guide. The lobster must then be an allusion to the excellent restaurants in this guide. In that case, the message is a bit weakened by the presence of the humble mussels (see Bivalves). So, again, no property of the lobster, or the device, is important.

Business leaders who
enjoy the Better Life now, want to continue to do so later. (10) And the text ends with Just keep eating your fish … (). The lobster, and the other crustaceans, here must represent luxury and the good things in life. They come with other popular seafood (more about mussels and sea snails in our section about Molluscs). There is no fish in sight however.

 The original text in Dutch reads Gewoon je visje blijven eten …. I am not sure what it means. Most probably something like Enjoy a good life with more than just the bare necessities.