Animal Studies Bibliography

Harbrecht, Doug. 1993. Animals in the ad game. International Wildlife 23(6): 38-43.

Animals are widely used in advertising, but they are used to evoke human feelings and are not based on any actual link between the animals' real behavior and the product being advertised. Because of cultural differences in attitudes toward animals, however, one logo or campaign may be gold in one country and completely backfire in the next. This difference is due to both translation problems (e.g. in China Coca-Cola means bite the wax tadpole, and in Brazil, Pinto means small penis) and to different cultures liking and stigmatizing different animals (e.g. dogs sell well as man's best friend in many countries, but in Islamic countries they are dirty , and in other countries they are just food; bats and snakes are hated in many cultures but revered in others). Whatever a culture's preference for a particular animal, however, animals are useful and powerful symbols in all cultures. They give the product or company an air of high quality and recognition (42). Most animal use in ads is simple, offering simple symbolic connections (e.g. widespread use of the kangaroo in Australia). Some animals, including swans, elephants, and cats, especially lions and tigers, are popular in almost every culture. Animals can also be used to convey complex messages, as in ads promoting racial harmony and ads that teach about endangered species. Many companies are jumping on the endangered species bandwagon, adorning their products with animals like whales and eagles. The fact that the animals' behavior bears no relation to the product is of no consequence--all that matters is the image the animal conveys, and in most cultures, these images and emotions are not tied to actual animal behavior in the first place.


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