Select Page

The Allure of Humanising Animals

Considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology in most cultures, the attribution of human traits and emotions to animals, academically known as ‘Anthropomorphism’, has ancient roots in traditional fables with ‘anthropomorphised’ animals as characters.

For advertising conceptualisers and filmmakers, the dramatisation of humanised sensory perceptions, reactions, and actions by animals, in analogous and metaphoric scenarios, consistently secure high scores of public likability for brands across the world.
The advancements of special effects techniques have taken ‘Anthropomorphism’ to new heights of animal humanisation popularism and viewer entertainment.

1. IKEA, The Hare and The Tortoise

Advertising Agency: Mother, London, UK

Directed by Sam Pilling, with a ‘voiceover’ by Swedish actor Per Mattson, the Aesop Fable about a race between a hare and tortoise, is brought to filmic, metaphorical life.

The amusing portrayal of the competitive advantage a comfortable nights sleep can give one with IKEA’s Ofelia Vass sustainable cotton bedding, makes for a very watchable commercial.

The soundtrack of English Rapper, Roots Manuva’s ‘Witness The Fitness’ was composed and arranged by Rodney Smith.

2. Mercedes-Benz S-Class, King of The Jungle

Advertising Agency: antoni, Berlin, Germany

The metaphorical alpha male S-Class commercial was directed by filmmaker Daniel Kleinman with Framestore’s skilled 3D artists providing the impressive visual effects.

The scenario depicts an alpha businessman having an infuriating stressful day, and to clear his mind, he takes a relaxing drive in his Mercedes-Benz S-Class with its luxurious ‘Comfort Control’ technology.

The visualisation of the king of the corporate jungle being ‘tamed’ by the time he arrives at home is metaphorically highly effective and entertaining.

3. Accenture, Big and Nimble

Advertising Agency: Y&R, New York, USA

The commercial for Multinational Management Consulting firm Accenture, was directed by filmmaker Thierry Poiraud, and produced by Paranoid Film Studios in Los Angeles, USA.

The arresting visual imagery and effective communication symbolism, accompanied by a soundtrack of the song ‘A Well Respected Man’ by The Kinks, makes for memorable viewing.

4. Churchill Car Insurance, Chill

Advertising Agency: Engine, London, UK

Churchill’s famous nodding-bulldog car mascot ‘Churchie’, is charmingly brought to life as he takes to the road in a single-minded, ‘feel-good’ commercial, directed by filmmaker Nicolai Fuglsig, that is a refreshing break from formula-driven car insurance advertising. It’s ‘short and sweet’ and great fun to view.

The soundtrack song titled “O.D.”, is by Detroit’s Alternative R&B singer/songwriter and guitarist, Britney Stoney, about ‘catching feelings’.

5. Peugeot 308 GTI, Push The Limits

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Filmmaker Noam Murro directed this action-packed escapade of a daring driver and his unexpected accomplice who take on Santa Monica’s 17 Street Gang, California’s Russian mobsters and the Jakuzza Japanese crime syndicate.

The duo’s provocative ‘monkey business’ antics involves some entertaining high speed chases with the Peugeot 308 Gti’s edgy acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 6 seconds, being pushed to the limit.

6. Honda Ridgeline, New Truck To Love

Advertising Agency: RPA (Rubin Postaer and Associates), Santa Monica, USA

Directed by Oscar nominated filmmaker Bryan Buckle, this memorable commercial amusingly features a flock of sheep, highlighting the Honda Ridgeline’s unique audio system, by singing the Queen classic ‘Somebody to Love’.

7. Freeview TV, Cat and Budgie Love

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, London, UK

Freeview is a digital terrestrial television platform, and as the name implies, is a broadcast service that provides free-to-air television channels to UK audiences.

Excellently directed by Jake Knight and Ryoko Tanaka, the filmmaking duo known as Ne-O, this highly popular and lauded commercial features a cat and a budgie singing Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s ‘You’re All I Need To Get By’.

8. Disneyland France, Little Duck

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Production Company: General Population (Genpop), Los Angeles, USA

The charming story of a little wild duckling that has a unique talent for mimicking his newly discovered hero Donald Duck, marks the launch commercial of Disneyland Paris’s ‘Where Magic Gets Real’ European campaign.

The soundtrack appropriately features the iconic 60’s song ‘The Impossible Dream’, also known as ‘The Quest’.

9. VW Tiguan Trailer Assist, Laughing Horses

Advertising Agency: Grabarz & Partner, Hamburg, Germany

Directed by filmmaker Bart Timmer, this amusing and very watchable commercial was launched online and rapidly went viral to become Volkswagen Germany’s most successful online-commercial debut of all time motivating 40 million views.

The remarkable online achievement resulted in the decision to flight the commercial on TV where it was equally successful and it went on to win a bevy of awards from The One Show and New York Festivals.

10. Samsung EcoBubble Washing Machine, Bear Surprise

Advertising Agency: The Viral Factory, London, UK

Filmed in Manning Park, British Columbia, Canada, and directed by filmmaker James Rouse, this highly entertaining commercial rapidly amassed well over ten million online views within a week of its release.

Full of surprises from the beginning to the end, the inventive scenario is great fun, and highly memorable.

11. Samsung Gear VR, Ostrich

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, USA

Directed by filmmaker Matthijs Van Heijningen, the commercial was filmed in South Africa and features Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ as the soundtrack. It is regarded by many industry professionals as one of the best ever commercials to be made for Samsung.

The entertaining ‘Do What You Can’t’ story won 2 Bronze, 2 Silver and 3 Gold Cannes lions in the film craft category for best direction, visual effects and animation.

At the 2018 Art Directors Club of New York (ADC) awards show, Leo Burnett, Chicago, and video production service company AJZ in Los Angeles, California, took home three top prizes for ‘Samsung Gear VR, Ostrich’.

The awards are namely; a Gold Cube in the Online/Mobile Video category, a Gold Cube for Craft in Video/Cinematography, and a Gold Cube for Experiential Design.

12. John Lewis & Partners, Buster the Boxer

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

Directed by filmmaker Dougal Wilson the commercial according to Campaign magazine was the most shared on social media in 2016. It motivated 137 million views in the first week of its festive-season campaign launch.

Chief Marketing Officer of Brandwatch, Will McInnes, summed up the campaign’s consumer appeal as follows:

“As marketers, we know that a great ad is all about eliciting emotions. Its classic big brand storytelling, meets distribution in the social age”.

“Essentially people won’t share boring content and John Lewis knows it. In a world where our attention is pulled in so many different directions, it’s a reminder that a good story still matters”.

The soundtrack, which features a cover version of Randy Crawford’s 1980 hit, ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’, performed by British electronic trio the ‘Vaults’, was recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios and topped the YouTube’s annual festive leaderboard.

13. Three Mobile, Moonwalking Pony

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, London, UK

Directed by filmmaker Dougal Wilson, a Shetland pony named Socks dances to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’.

Socks rapidly became an an Internet hit, with more than seven million people viewing his dance routine online within the first week of the commercial’s release.