The Truth about Goats
Sociologists and Advertising Executives have reached the conclusion that the general public has become so jaded and cynical, that only ‘woodland folk’ can reach our hearts and pockets. Be it a John Lewis Penguin, Southern Electric’s Orang-utan or George Osborne’s Tapeworm; British consumers are only swayed by the reassuring presence of an innocent animal endorsing a Machiavellian range of services.
There is nothing new to this as a marketing device; Skippy the Kangaroo was used to promote asbestos during the 60s, Lassie smoked Marlboro cigarettes and Mister Ed sold stationery products – only to be ironically melted down into pritt stick when he retired. Of course sometimes cartoon animals were used for cynical ends, best illustrated by Mickey Mouse’s complicit role in the rise of the Third Reich.
One marketing specialist reminisced: ‘The 60s was a golden age of advertising. Who could forget Flipper Friendly Tuna Chunks, Winnie the Pooh suppositories and Trigger the Horse’s range of Viagra pills. But today we don’t just want animals with human personalities, we want real critters with real feelings. Which is why we have selected the shark to advertise banking. And any new initiatives in the War on Terror will be presented to the UN Security Council by a loveable Koala Bear’.
While the Andrex puppy, the Dulux dog and the Myxomatosis Bunny may be old news, there promises to be a new generation of anthropomorphised animals. The wider irony is that some of the products they support are actually contributing to the species extinction. Meer Kats are blissfully unaware that 34% of Russian Meer Kats die in uninsured car accidents every year. Mainly because their feet can’t reach the pedals.