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Why using animals in advertising is not only ethical, but effective

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Animals have been used in advertising for decades, representing companies, products, and services of all kinds. From the Geico gecko to the iconic Coca-Cola polar bears, companies have found that using animals in advertising not only catches the viewer’s attention, but leaves a lasting impression as well. However, some individuals and animal rights groups argue that using animals in advertising is unethical and exploitative. In this article, we’ll explore why using animals in advertising is not only ethical but effective as well.

Animals in Advertising: An Overview

The use of animals in advertising dates back to the nineteenth century when exotic animals like lions, tigers, and elephants were brought into the big cities as part of circus shows. In the early days of advertising, animals were seen as an interesting and unique way to catch people’s attention in newspapers, posters, and billboards. Today, animals are still being used in advertising, and it’s no surprise that some of the most memorable and iconic ads have featured animals.

Why Using Animals in Advertising is Ethical

One of the main criticisms leveled against using animals in advertising is that it’s unethical and exploitative. However, if done correctly, using animals in advertising can be an ethical and responsible practice. Here are a few reasons why:

Animals are Treated Humanely

One of the biggest concerns about using animals in advertising is that they are mistreated or abused in the process. However, reputable advertising agencies and companies take great care to ensure that animals are treated humanely and with respect. Before any animal is used in an advertisement, they are thoroughly screened and evaluated to ensure that they are healthy and fit to participate.

Animals Help Conservation Efforts

Using animals in advertising can also help raise awareness about conservation efforts. For example, the iconic WWF panda logo has become synonymous with conservation efforts, and has helped raise millions of dollars for conservation efforts around the world. By featuring animals in their advertising campaigns, companies can help customers connect with conservation messages more easily.

Animals Help Make a Connection with Consumers

Animals, as a whole, have the power to connect with people in a unique way. They are cute, funny, and endearing, and seeing them in advertising can create a personal connection with the viewer. This connection can, in turn, inspire a positive feeling towards the brand or product being advertised. For example, the Budweiser Clydesdales, with their majestic appearance and endearing personalities, have become synonymous with the brand and evoke feelings of loyalty and trust in consumers.

The Effectiveness of Using Animals in Advertising

Using animals in advertising isn’t just ethical, it’s also effective. Here’s why:

Animals Make the Ad More Memorable

One of the main reasons why animals are so effective in advertising is that they make the ad more memorable. People are more likely to remember an ad if it features an adorable cat or a hilarious dog than if it features a generic product shot. The ad becomes more than just a marketing message, it’s also an emotional experience that the viewer is likely to remember.

Animals Help Tell a Story

Another reason why animals are so effective in advertising is that they help tell a story. Whether it’s a cute cat lounging on a cozy couch or two geese flying in perfect formation, animals can communicate a message without words. This leaves the viewer with a deeper understanding of the brand or message being conveyed.

Animals Appeal to a Wide Audience

Another benefit of using animals in advertising is that they appeal to a wide audience. Young or old, male or female, everybody loves animals, and featuring them in an ad can help brands connect with more customers. This is evident in the success of companies like Subaru, which has a reputation for featuring dogs in their advertising. By appealing to dog lovers, Subaru has been able to carve out a unique niche in the automotive industry.

Tips for Using Animals in Advertising Ethically

When using animals in advertising, it’s important to do so ethically. Here are a few tips for doing so:

Work with a Reputable Agency

When selecting an advertising agency to work with, make sure they have experience working with animals and are committed to ethical and responsible treatment of the animals used in their ads.

Only Use Animals Who Are Healthy and Happy

Before using an animal in an advertisement, make sure they are fit and healthy and that they are enjoying their time on set. Animals who are stressed, anxious, or uncomfortable should never be used in advertising.

Be Transparent with Consumers

Be transparent with consumers about the use of animals in advertising. Let them know that the animals used in your ads were treated humanely and that you support ethical treatment of animals.


Using animals in advertising is not only ethical, but it’s also effective. When used responsibly and ethically, animals can create a personal connection with customers, help tell a story, and make the ad more memorable. By following these tips, companies can use animals in advertising in a responsible and ethical way, creating a successful campaign with a positive impact.

Emily Johnson

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