Animals in advertising: the ultimate shortcut to our hearts and brains. Whether you’re an animal aficionado like me, or you'd rather stay away from them unless they’re on your dinner plate, humans are wired to pay attention to animals. Will it eat me? Can I eat it? Can I cuddle it? Featuring animals in ads doesn’t guarantee success, but when done right, it can help get almost any message across. So, here’s some of my favourite animal-vertising from the past decade...
Interac - 'Pets with Credit'
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
DIrector: Sean Wainsteim
Anthropomorphism can be a helpful tool to confront people with unhealthy or dangerous behaviour in a friendly way. Interac uses a dog who’s hooked on credit to illustrate the perils of credit card debt and encourage people to pay with a debit card instead. A great example of how animals can help brands hold up a mirror, without pointing a finger.
Quorn - 'So Tasty! Why Choose the Alternative?'
Pet or farm animal; real, plush or CGI - it doesn’t matter, really. Animals in all shapes and sizes can touch us and make us consider changing our behaviour. Quorn uses muppet-like spokes-animals to promote the benefits of a meat free diet and convince us to ‘forget about the alternative’. A fun and effective reminder that meat doesn’t grow on trees.
Asus - 'Modern Birds'
Agency: SuperHeroes Amsterdam
Asus took one of the most popular animal memes of that moment - birds with arms - to promote their 2-in-1 laptop. Instead of overwhelming people with specs, the bird protagonist playfully explains why the device is a smart choice. Proving all the while that animals can even convey product messaging in an engaging way.
Android - 'Friends Furever'
Agency: Droga5 New York
This oxytocin booster was the first ad that came to mind when I was considering this High Five topic. It builds on the ‘Be Together, Not the Same’ campaign that Android released the year before, using unlikely fur friends as inspiration: "You don’t have to be a cute animal to show the world how to ‘be together, not the same’ - but it definitely helps."
Humane Society International - 'Save Ralph'
Agency: In-house at Humane Society International
Just like happy animals in ads can evoke positive feelings, ads with animals in distress often make us feel empathy, sadness or even guilt, which can be equally effective in getting a message across or persuading people to change their behaviour - especially when done in such a great way as this.