Animal House: Pets In Advertising

Every good advertiser knows that in order to make an impact, you’ve got to aim for the heart, shoot to kill.

Of late, some of the most successful campaigns have been designed to either get the consumer laughing ‘til they cry, or get them crying ‘til their mascara runs. Separate ends of the spectrum, sure. But the results are typically the same. If it gets people talking, sharing online, or watching and re-watching at their work desks on the sly, the brand is doing something right.

Really, what’s cuter than a snuggly little puppy dog, or funnier than curious kitten? Animals have this effect on people, especially in recent years.

But, why?

In 2011, 50% of all babies born in North America and The UK were born to parents twenty-nine years or older, compared to the year 2000, where the average age of a parent welcoming their first child was twenty-six years old. Whether it be a greater focus on career growth, financial stability, or simply because the values of a maturing generation have seen a significant change, young-motherhood (save Amber Portwood and Associates) is becoming a thing of the past.

But as human beings, living, breathing, red-blooded mammals, we have this innate desire to nurture and care for things, to watch them grow, and to take responsibility for someone other than ourselves. And it’s from this instinctive desire to play “mommy” and “daddy” that the “Furry Baby” was born.

For many of us, pets are like children. They sleep in our beds, we dress them in clothes, and we’ll spend just as much money on a daytime dog-walker as we would on a weekend sitter.

Purina ads are the new Geber ads. Rather than watching a bouncing babe fling pureed peas across a kitchen, we’d rather see a mischievous mastiff unravel a roll of top quality toilet paper. In fact, 2010 saw $48 Billion spent on the pet industry, and due in large part to the prominence of super-clever pet care advertising.

Recently, however, animal-based adverts aren’t just used to sell animal products. Companies like Telus, Volkswagon, Avia, Alka-Seltzer, Ford, Grand Optical, Sunlight, Geico, and so many more, have been relying on our four-legged friends to communicate their brand message.

Here are some of our favorite examples. Let us know which one gets you panting in the comments section below.


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