The UK is, famously, a nation of animal lovers, so it makes sense that countless brands and companies over the years have turned to animal TV ads to sell their products. Whether appearing in a funny skit or a cute storyline, animated or live action, animal TV advert stars have always become firm household favourites.
Here are some of the best animal TV adverts that have graced our screens over the years…
John Lewis – Buster the Boxer
The John Lewis Christmas TV adverts are always crowd-pleasers, and this one from 2016 is no exception. This heartwarming Christmas TV ad tells the story of Buster the Boxer dog and his excitement for a trampoline in the garden (presumably meant for the human children of the household). The animated advert also includes a group of wild creatures – including a fox, hedgehog, badger and squirrel – so it really is jam-packed with animal stars.
The ad is set to a cover of One Day I’ll Fly Away by British band Vaults, which only adds to the atmospher. In all, the combination of a lovable dog as part of a menagerie of an animal advert cast, plus an uplifting storyline made this one a memorable hit.
Cadbury – Gorilla
Undoubtedly one of the most iconic and beloved British commercials, the Cadbury’s “Gorilla” advert has cemented its place in UK TV history. The 2007 advert, for the Cadbury Dairy Milk “glass and a half full” campaign, features a gorilla passionately playing the drums to the tune of Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight.
Of course, the ‘Cadbury advert gorilla’ that has captured so many imaginations isn’t really an ape; in fact, it’s human actor Garon Michael. The unexpected pairing of a human-like gorilla playing the drums so passionately and an iconic and popular song created a visually striking and memorable TV advert that’s still remembered today.
Compare the Market – Compare the Meerkat
Launched in 2009, comparison site Compare the Market’s meerkat adverts have become a staple of British television. Created by ad agency VCCF, the campaign is a play on the similarity between the words ‘market’ and ‘meerkat’, and stars two animated meerkats, named Aleksandr Orlov and Sergei.
Over the years, the meerkat adverts have seen Aleksandr and Sergei in a number of humorous positions, such as travelling to Hollywood and meeting Nicole Kidman, and adopting a baby meerkat named Oleg, who was left on their doorstep. Whatever the year, you can bet that the latest meerkat advert will feature the heroes in a new fur-brained scheme.
PG Tips – Monkey
Another iconic monkey advert. PG Tips first featured the aptly-named Monkey character in 2007, though he had first appeared in a series of TV ads for ITV Digital alongside comedian Johnny Vegas. PG Tips brought the duo back to screens for several adverts, where Monkey plays the ‘straight man’ character to Vegas’s Al.
The PG Tips Monkey adverts also make reference to the tea company’s classic advertising campaigns. Between 1956 and 2002, PG Tips were promoted with adverts starring real, anthropomorphic chimpanzees. The chimp characters were often voiced by celebrities including Bob Monkhouse and Peter Sellers, and were known as the Tipp Family.
Carling Black Label – Squirrel
Created by ad agency WCRS and part of a long-running campaign promoting the Black Label beer, Carling created a fan favourite with 1989’s Squirrel advert. One of the rare real-life animals in adverts, the squirrel in question was actually filmed as part of BBC’s Daylight Robbery documentary series about grey squirrels.
For Carling, the footage is set to the theme tune from the film Mission Impossible, and shows the squirrel complete a series of obstacles to reach a plate of nuts. At the end, a pair of wide-eyed owls watch on, and note that the athletic rodent must be a Carling drinker.
What’s your favourite animal advert of all time? Let us know in the comments!