Animals in advertising - Sitemap
published: xi.2000; latest update: i.2024


where we explain how in an epoch of obvious degradation of the environment advertisers started to play much greener themes than before.

are often called upon to be kissed to escape some limitation or trigger a change for the better. They may also stand for nature and the environment. About a third of our samples relate to a characteristic of the animal: colour, size, behaviour, etc.

are mainly used to impersonate strength, or power, or endurance. They are often chosen because they live in a cold and harsh environment and also because of their sometimes humanlike posture. Bears can represent nature.

— that is generally known — cruise the deserts on a drop of water. They are therefore almost exclusively cast in a dry setting and relating to frugality while a chuckle is never far away.

A cat
purring her afternoon away is an archetype of well-being, enjoying the good things of life in the safe environment and warmth of one's home. That is quite a lot of important feelings on which to hook a good message.
Several writers can't correctly identify the bigger cats. They get tangled in the dots and stripes. Most writers therefore play it safe and don't risk any further than some obvious allusions about dot patterns.

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. Crabs are attracted to luxury (specially watches) and lobsters are a symbol for it.

are powerful and have a remarkable memory. A perfect match with the humble servants on our desk-tops. Elephants on sixty percent of our samples advertise computers or related things like networks, printers and copiers.

stand out because they are not used to add a green touch. Copy-writers never find any strong point of fish in their subject. The fish favoured by most writers is the Goldfish. Other colourful fish come second, sharks far behind and fish like sardine, herring and piranha are only rarely called upon.

show no clear affinity for any single product type. There is wide agreement to stick to the facts —Giraffes are tall with a long neck— or to tickle the funny bone with some mild humour. They are very convenient to flavour an advertisement with a soupçon of exotism.

are barely understood by copywriters. Hippos are big, and grey, and they sometimes represent wild nature. These dangerous animals are better left alone.

come in three kinds: with or without stripes and donkeys. Zebras are surprisingly often shown in scenes about imitation and copying. A horse is an epitome of quality, class, perfection, sometimes power. Horses also stand for freedom. Donkeys are stupid.


come as ants, bees, and wasps. Ants are small and can carry huge loads. That is why they are most often called upon to transfer contrast. Bees impersonate team work and expertise. Wasps may have a meaning of a known risk.


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. Moles betray their presence through molehills and are therefore not very popular with humans. They almost never appear in advertisements.

are extremely versatile. A bottle of beer, a printer, a bank account, a scanner, a spread-sheet, human resource management, you name it, most likely has something in common with a mouse.

have a rather limited vocabulary. Snails are sluggish and usually stand for something that must be avoided. Oysters and certainly their pearls are highly valued. Scallops give protection. Inkfish are almost never used.

are so cute, so human, so funny. But that's clearly not good enough to make a good messenger. Most advertisements stick to take-away allusions about ice, cold and dress-code.

usually mean money and a rosy future. Hog writers stay bottom level with ordinary allusions. But surprisingly enough pigs and family are also often used to indicate quality! Be it indirectly, but still.

are large, and heavy, and they can attack with an impressive speed. They are usually instructed to signify danger, or adventure. But they may also be choosen to illustrate the power of computers.

come most regularly as whales or dolphins and often breach to a better life. Whales sometimes symbolize an unspoiled environment that must be preserved while dolphins stand for intelligence and communication. Pinnipeds are less popular and haven't much of great value to tell.

are called upon for a surprisingly wide range of products, and services. They are often used because of their wool. Wool as a raw material and for its insulating properties. Their grazing and living in flocks is also important. It is remarkable that black sheep are mostly seen as something positive.