As of recently it has become almost impossible to sit through a slot of adverts without coming across at least one talking, dancing or singing animal. Whether it’s an Eastern European meerkat or an elephant swaying down the street to an agonising 80s pop tune, it would seem the only way to sell us something has become to make us giggle at an animal behaving like a human. Anthropomorphism isn’t anything new, it has been used for thousands of years to tell wonderful tales and fables but it seems its only use now is to sell us anything from rice pudding to digital television. Which is a shame. What was once an interesting story concept now instantly screams a lack of originality. The unpunctual, waist coat wearing white rabbit of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland would be turning in his grave if he could see the cheapening of his very being.
But these adverts work, or they get attention. It’s not uncommon to hear a conversation start with “oh my god, have you seen the one where…” so clearly advertisers are going to want to cash in on this. It makes sense to go with what is popular but there are now that many adverts like this that it’s hard to even know what they are selling (I assume I am not alone in questioning the connection that can be made between a dancing bear and rice pudding). Adverts are becoming a collection of clips that before we would have had to go out of our way to find on Youtube. That is fine if you are part of the crowd that enjoys such videos but watching television for more than an hour now comes with an 80% chance of seeing one. The phrase “Ohh Yes” used to seem over used when it was a singular advert but now Churchill the nodding dog is just one of many characterised animals that dominate our screens between programs. There is an influx of cringe inducing similarity between current advertising campaigns and it feels as though advertisers have given up all hope of thinking of new ways to make products appeal to us. That or we all just really, really love animals?