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Animals in advertising - Molluscs - Snails
The language of Gastropods is very limited.

Land snails are sluggish and therefore they stand almost invariably for too slow.

Sea snails seem to have a different vocabulary. They may radiate luxury, or stand for the Sea.

As with other animals, we also have some examples where we have no clue why a Gastropod was choosen.

first published: xii.2021

Though snails and
slugs are equally slow, only the former can be found in advertisements. Slugs go through life apparently without shell and to the casual onlooker this may appear to be the reason of their absence in adverts (). But in none of our samples is the shell of the snail important and the lack of this feature is likely not the cause of the absence of slugs. It is probably simply because people do not like these slimy creatures.

(1) 1991 – We, slow with your loan? No way.
(2) 1997 – Or rather a loan in 20 minutes?

Snails carry their house
on their back and are therefore always at home. They are therefore the ideal species to sell a mortgage, a house, or cosiness at home, in my opinion, but they are never used for that. For copywriters only their behavior seems important.

In today's fast world snails are considered way too cautious in their actions. That is why the animal usually stands for something that should be avoided, or at least can be done much faster: f.e. long waiting times when applying for a loan (1, 2).

(3) 2001 – You want to build [a house]. — website
(4) 1994 – Is your mouse really a mouse? — Computer mouse

You want to build
a house (3) at first gives the impression that the house of the snail is important, and that the advert is about a mortgage. We learn otherwise after reading the text How long does it take you to turn your building dreams into concrete plans? As fast as you want. Surf to … Once again, it's the speed that counts. Just like in (4) where —in contrast to the agility of a mouse— the poor snail sighs: no, not again back to the menu. That wouldn't be a problem with a computer mouse from the right brand.

Change the pace.
(5, 9) What takes ages in the normal world, the Toyota F1 team does in the blink of a eye. The advert comes in two versions: (9) one page with with 3 frames slow and fast and (5) a double page full spread which tells the story in 6 frames.

This is one of the very few advertisements where land snails do not stand for something that is slow and must be avoided. The snails simply represent the everyday world which is contrasted with the F1 world which is moving much faster.

In the following ad (6) also, the snail's sluggishness is presented as a fact, not as something that is bad and could be better. The device of No. 6 detects vibrations on machines that run at only six revolutions per minute. The animal plays the role of equipment suffering from vibrations. There's also that hint of mild humor that we love to see in commercials.

(5) 2004 – Change the pace. — F1 racing
(6) 2000 – The door wide open to monitor the behaviour of very slow speed equipment.

The new vitality
for my hair, says No. 7 about its hair shampoo and conditioner based on seaweed extracts. They have also products based on herbs and on honey. The tropical sea snail must portray the Sea who is —we learn from this ad— an inexhaustible source for this brand.

I am not sure that our next example (8) really is an advertisement. It is a full spread from the inflight catalogue of Alitalia. It may very well be the opening page of the section with jewelry and watches and not an advert for a specific (kind of) items. However, the association of a sea snail with luxury goods is remarkable. Just like when Ants were chosen for jewelry and watches, we have no clear understanding of the reasoning behind this connection.

(7) 1992 – New vitality for your hair. — shampoo
(8) 201? – Jewels and watches.

The same holds true
for the finest porcelain of No. 10. This specific line is designed by a famous fashion designer from Paris. The snails are not a part of the design. They are placed on the plate, because … why exactly ? Is it something in the history of the brand?

All people are entitled
to their own language. we are told by No. 11. It sounds like a line from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But what does it mean when it is said about a network printer? Does it mean that the printer can handle all possible network protocols? Or that its menu can be shown in many languages? But then why is a sea shell shown, and not the device, or its menu? A why is the shell eating a reindeer (that's what I think it is)? Or does the shell spit out the reindeer like a horn of plenty?

Only a reader, who knows that the commended device was a heavy-duty printer which in its "M"-version could work with a Macintosh and other PostScript sources, would maybe see the reason of the language statement. I am open to suggestions about the remaining elements of the advertisement.

(9) 2004 – Change the pace. — F1 racing
(10) 1980 – We like to make your finest porcelain.
(11) 1993 – All people are entitled to their own language. — printer

Chapters about Molluscs

 Slugs do appear in advertising for products to exterminate snails. They are even the prefered kind in this situation. But then slugs are cast as slugs — they play themselves — and in the introduction we have explained that advertisements where the animal is present as itself are not included. Otherwise we would be inundated with pet food advertising.

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