The power of animals in TV advertising

7th November 2016

ANIMALS Have long been a key emotive tool for advertising and have developed an immortality while previous techniques have dissolved into irrelevance.

A plethora of adverts since the culture of TV advertising began in the late 1940s, or advertising as a whole have all been included for one reason: to evoke an emotional response from the consumer, one that can either change perceptions or by humanising animals creates an abstract reality for the consumer to become immersed in.

In short an animal is perennially used in advertising because of the effect it can have with a myriad of factors: symbolic, escapist, humourous, personal, notwithstanding cost.

The presence of animals has added a powerful dynamic for advertisers.
The presence of animals has added a powerful dynamic for advertisers.

Without using human equivalents to embody the message of the advert, which would often entail expensive celebrity endorsements, animals have their differing associations throughout the world, which in itself encapsulates the creative element of the advertising industry.

When a particular campaign wants to symbolise a lifestyle, brand, or comparisons, it is cost effective and powerful in a symbolic sense to use animals ethically, without causing consternation amongst certain individuals who may be offended by certain portrayals of human stereotypes in a similar context.

With this in mind the strengths of utilising animals has been profound, especially when creating a brand response advertising campaign.

For instance entire campaigns and brands as a whole are embodied by an animal figurehead, Andrex, Compare the Market, Lloyds, Puma, Hollister, and Lacoste to name but a few have all utilised animals to embody their brand identity.

This success and credibility ensures that any campaign your company may wish to take is safe in cementing a brand identity, while at a time when maintaining a clear, subjective brand response to adverts, the presence of a member of the animal kingdom is a sure fire way to evoke an emotive response from the consumer.

Although this technique lends itself particularly well to the brand response mechanism, the ability to utilise such instant emotions in a consumer ensures that animals are a secure safety net in producing successful commercials.

Animals have also presented a strong call to action mechanism.
Animals have also presented a strong call to action mechanism.

Occasionally commercials which  have featured animals have drawn complaints from a minority of viewers, but never has one been withdrawn from broadcast in breach of Advertising Standards Agency guidelines.

This has ensured a form of self regulation has existed within the industry as advertising has evolved organically.

For the sake of positive PR the vast majority of advertising companies have refrained from portraying images of animal cruelty, or perceived ill treatment at least, with Fat Face withdrawing a commercial from TV after it drew complaints themselves.

Therefore to establish an emerging brand or cementing an existing power, the use of animals has been an erstwhile and successful technique of producing strong brand and direct response campaigns.

Amongst five of The Guardian’s favourite ads of all time feature animal ads that have had stark impacts on their target audience from 1990, leading up to the present day and dating back to some of the most successful ads from brands such as McVities in the 1970s, cementing the enduring impact of animals in TV commercials.



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