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Bear Worship, Tales and Teddies

These large, mystic and charismatic animals that can walk upright, climb trees, swim and catch salmon, have played a prominent role in various aspects of mythology, the Arts, folklore and symbolism in Northern Hemisphere societies for centuries and to some degree still do.

Bear Goddesses

The Ancient Greeks, Celtic societies and many other northern tribes had Bear Goddesses symbolising fiercely protectionist instincts, the courage to ‘stand up for oneself’ against an adversary, and re-birth.

Bear Spirits

In Native American folklore, because they hibernate, bears are revered as important ‘Keepers of Dreams’ and ‘Keepers of Medicine’. ‘Bear Medicine’ places an emphasis on the importance of solitude, quiet-time and rest.

Polar Bears

Polar Bears are so well adapted to their Arctic environment that they have no need to hibernate to conserve energy. That environment unfortunately is changing. The effects of global warming on their habitat poses a serious threat to their continued survival. Coca-Cola teamed up with the WWF in their ‘Arctic Home’ initiative to bring the plight facing Polar Bears to the world’s attention.

1. Coca-Cola & WWF, Arctic Home Introduction

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago

The commercial features footage from a co-production by Warner Bros. Pictures and MacGillivray Freeman Films of IMAX Corporation’s ‘One World One Ocean’.

2. Coca-Cola & WWF, Arctic Home Public Activation

Communication Agency: Lexis, London

Part of the Arctic Home integrated campaign was an event that was held in London at the Science Museum. Augmented Reality was used as an immersive experience for the general public that effectively created heartfelt emotional responses.

Having Fun with Bear Spoofs and Parodies

Bears may have lost some of their mystic allure and symbolism for modern day societies but not the endearing interest and affinity many animal lovers and viewing audiences feel for them.

3. John West Salmon, Fighting Bear

 Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett London

This famous Cannes Gold Lion winner of 2001 was directed by Danny Kleinman and was an early viral success story. The Viral Company’s tracking monitor in November 2006 recorded a staggering 300 million online views.

4. John West Salmon, Into The Woods

Advertising Agency: BWM, Melbourne

Directed by Paul Middleditch, this cinematic Australian version of a follow-up to the ‘Fighting Bear’ commercial, features a soundtrack by Song Zu and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

5. Samsung EcoBubble Washing Machine, Bear Surprise

Advertising Agency: The Viral Factory, London

Directed by James Rouse, this is a highly entertaining commercial that rapidly amassed well over ten million YouTube views within a week and countless downloads.

6. CANAL+, The Bear

Advertising Agency: BETC Euro RSCG, Paris

Brilliantly directed by Matthijs Van Heijningen, ‘The Bear’ is a highly entertaining parody of a typical Hollywood Film Director. Part creative genius and part control-freak. The reason for the odd, thin shape of the bear, named Paul Bearman, is rewardingly revealed at the end of the commercial.

‘The Bear’ motivated 1.5 million views on YouTube immediately after its first airing. It received worldwide acclaim, won a Cannes Film Craft Grand Prix and became part of French popular culture.

Bear Tales

British author and poet Robert Southey’s ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ published in 1837 is one of the most enduring English Language fairy tales of all time. Several versions of the story have emerged over the years that have been adapted to various media including opera and film.

In 2013 however, British audiences were enthralled by a heart-warming new fairy tale about a bear who never saw Christmas.

7. John Lewis, The Bear and The Hare

Advertising Agency: adam&eve DDB

The animated story of ‘The Bear and The Hare’ for John Lewis, the British store chain, was one of the most popular christmas commercials of all time with young and old alike and demonstrates how powerfull animation can be emotively for engaging all audiences, regardless of age.

The evocative soundtrack of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ is by Lily Allan and can be downloaded from iTunes.

Endearing Teddies

In 1902 President Theodore of The United States, popularly known as Teddy Roosevelt, on a hunting trip in Mississippi was presented with an old bear tied to a willow tree as a courtesy for him to shoot. The president rejected the offer and the story made national headlines. Many cartoons followed and memorabilia to mark the event that led to the Teddy Bear being born.

Stories about Teddy Bears ever since then have remained consistently popular until today. A. A. Milne, inspired by his young son’s treasured teddie bear named Poo, launched his much loved Winnie-the-Poo stories in 1926. His Poo Bear stories have been translated into many languages and adaptations and became one of the Disney Studio’s most successful movie franchises.

To mark their 70th Anniversary, London’s Heathrow Airport released their first ever commercial. It featured a story about a teddy bear couple Doris and Edward who rapidly endeared themselves to millions of viewers.

8. Heathrow Airport London, Coming Home

Advertising Agency: Havas, London

Directed by Dom & Nick, filming was done on location at Heathrow during the Christmas season and the soundtrack features the Chas & Dave song “I’m Going Back”.

9. Heathrow Airport London, Doris and Edward Bair

Advertising Agency: Havas London

After the hugely popular response to the ‘Coming Home’ commercial globally, Heathrow Airport launched a sequel to the Doris and Edward story.

Directed once more by Dom & Nic, the story takes a sentimental look at how the teddies first met in the 1960’s. The soundtrack features Petula Clark’s Couldn’t Live Without Your Love.