Animals: the Peanut Butter to Marketing’s Jelly

Case in point: You saw these cute pets; you clicked on the post. (Credit: Thinkstock)
Case in point: You saw these cute pets; you clicked on the post. (Credit: Thinkstock)

In today’s marketing arena it isn’t unusual to see animals taking on roles as brand ambassadors. Some may even argue that it is more common to see animals acting as humans in commercials than their usual selves. It seems like the goal of many brands today is to capture consumers’ attention by making them say “aww.”

Many brands like Twitter (bird), MGM (lion), Meerkat (um, meerkat) and Disney (mouse) use animals as their logo, while the likes of Geico, Aflac and Bush’s Baked Beans use animals as their “spokesanimals” or brand ambassadors. Why? Because animals have the ability to tap into consumers’ emotions, and it makes them more inclined to pay attention to a brand’s message that might otherwise be unrelated to them.

Aflac’s duck is a great example of this. Even as a child, before I ever thought about or needing any type of personal insurance, I could identify the duck with the brand and what it offers. The same can be said for Geico’s gecko or its “hump day” camels (clearly insurance companies are on the animal bandwagon). These brands have mastered the art of catching people’s attention through association with our four-legged, two-legged, or no-legged friends.

Brands have also started going beyond simply using animals as their logos and voice. Many companies are now creating advertisements and commercials completely unrelated to their products to catch viewers’ attention. Most notable is Budweiser and its use of the Clydesdale horse in its recent Super Bowl commercials. The ads had virtually nothing to do with beer yet almost everyone I know can easily associate them with Budweiser due to the feelings they evoked in them. The emotional attraction people feel toward animals makes them far more likely to take notice of brands that utilize furry friends to sell their product.

Also, marketing videos become more captivating when they are viewed as stories rather than simple ads. Think about how Friskies’ “Dear Kitten” video series has gone viral and been shared all over the Internet. Animal videos have led to their own online video genre, and they have led the way for viral social media campaigns and prominent memes – Grumpy Cat, anyone?

So, next time you’re thinking about a new marketing campaign, don’t rule out the use of animals – clearly us humans can’t get enough of them.