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Anthropomorphic animals in commercials : why fake animals tell good stories

Lennklo, Désirée LU (2010) KOVM02 20101
Division of Art History and Visual Studies
Abstract
Animals are often used in advertising, especially in commercials. When given human characteristics, and used in several commercials over a longer period of time, anthropomorphic animal spokespersons are born. These animals are neither real animals nor humans. They are hybrids, or fake animals. Fake in the sense that they are fictive, they lack an existing model and they are an assembly of many things. Commercials that feature such animals are often very successful in that they are popular and increase sales. The fake animals seem to appeal to us and be able to convince us of almost anything. This thesis explains how this is possible.

Two contemporary Swedish advertising campaigns, featuring fake animals as spokespersons (Bregottfabriken... (More)
Animals are often used in advertising, especially in commercials. When given human characteristics, and used in several commercials over a longer period of time, anthropomorphic animal spokespersons are born. These animals are neither real animals nor humans. They are hybrids, or fake animals. Fake in the sense that they are fictive, they lack an existing model and they are an assembly of many things. Commercials that feature such animals are often very successful in that they are popular and increase sales. The fake animals seem to appeal to us and be able to convince us of almost anything. This thesis explains how this is possible.

Two contemporary Swedish advertising campaigns, featuring fake animals as spokespersons (Bregottfabriken and Born to be cheap) will be the main focus of the thesis. Compositional analyses of advertising campaigns, especially commercials, provide information about how these animals are constructed. The campaigns are analysed and compared to similar campaigns in order to define the circumstances required to create an illusion of personality and life in a fake animal body. Theories of among others, Paul Messaris, Jennifer Lerner, Linda Kalof, and David Pierson are relevant in the analysis.

Animals portrayed in a consequent manner are the ones that are most likely to gain a convincing personality. It is important that the animal is portrayed in a similar way in a series of commercials. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that the animal always inhabits the same setting, variation could function as an indicator of realistic life. Filmic features of the commercial can often compensate for a less realistic narrative. Storytelling is the most efficient way to create a personality and impression of life in an artificial animal.

The illusion of life in manipulated or totally artificial animal bodies is depending on many factors that all has to be tuned in to each other in order to be able to create a convincing image. In both the Bregottfabriken and Born to be cheap fake animals receive a personality and seem “real” due to a combination of technology, filmic features and narration. Narration and technology often compensate flaws in one another. The most important ingredient in the perfect illusion of a living entity, is that the audience identify with it. Identification with the animals in the chosen campaigns is especially easy, since the animals are portrayed in a wide range of everyday-life circumstances. (Less)
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author
Lennklo, Désirée LU
supervisor
organization
course
KOVM02 20101
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Anthropomorphic animal, animal, animal representations, fake, artificial, commercial, hybrid, advertising, storytelling
language
English
id
1601027
date added to LUP
2010-05-31 14:42:00
date last changed
2010-05-31 14:42:00
@misc{1601027,
  abstract     = {Animals are often used in advertising, especially in commercials. When given human characteristics, and used in several commercials over a longer period of time, anthropomorphic animal spokespersons are born. These animals are neither real animals nor humans. They are hybrids, or fake animals. Fake in the sense that they are fictive, they lack an existing model and they are an assembly of many things. Commercials that feature such animals are often very successful in that they are popular and increase sales. The fake animals seem to appeal to us and be able to convince us of almost anything. This thesis explains how this is possible.

Two contemporary Swedish advertising campaigns, featuring fake animals as spokespersons (Bregottfabriken and Born to be cheap) will be the main focus of the thesis. Compositional analyses of advertising campaigns, especially commercials, provide information about how these animals are constructed. The campaigns are analysed and compared to similar campaigns in order to define the circumstances required to create an illusion of personality and life in a fake animal body. Theories of among others, Paul Messaris, Jennifer Lerner, Linda Kalof, and David Pierson are relevant in the analysis. 

Animals portrayed in a consequent manner are the ones that are most likely to gain a convincing personality. It is important that the animal is portrayed in a similar way in a series of commercials. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that the animal always inhabits the same setting, variation could function as an indicator of realistic life. Filmic features of the commercial can often compensate for a less realistic narrative. Storytelling is the most efficient way to create a personality and impression of life in an artificial animal. 

The illusion of life in manipulated or totally artificial animal bodies is depending on many factors that all has to be tuned in to each other in order to be able to create a convincing image. In both the Bregottfabriken and Born to be cheap fake animals receive a personality and seem “real” due to a combination of technology, filmic features and narration. Narration and technology often compensate flaws in one another. The most important ingredient in the perfect illusion of a living entity, is that the audience identify with it. Identification with the animals in the chosen campaigns is especially easy, since the animals are portrayed in a wide range of everyday-life circumstances.},
  author       = {Lennklo, Désirée},
  keyword      = {Anthropomorphic animal,animal,animal representations,fake,artificial,commercial,hybrid,advertising,storytelling
},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Anthropomorphic animals in commercials : why fake animals tell good stories},
  year         = {2010},
}