Off the back of my last post about Culture Magazine’s simple ad, it sparked a conversation between myself and my boyfriend about adverts we grew up with.
We enjoyed very similar recollections, both being British and our similar ages helping frame our collective memory being children of the 80s, but the one theme that unified our favourites, was the age-old classic of the animal star turn.
Yes our furry friends have proven to be a commercial hit time and time again, often overshadowing the human actors within the same campaign. Why is it that animals sell products so well? What with a decade of Rolf Harris nursing our whimpering pet-loving hearts and Dale Winton camply encouraging our best friends to earn their keep in the form of prize-winning agility, cats, dogs, monkies and even 007 squirrels have won our hearts and sold us everything from toilet paper to cars in the world of the commercial break.
So I thought I’d compile a life-list of the most memorable advertorial animal antics that still make me laugh watching them all over again. I've tried to focus on real animals, so Duracell Bunnies aside, have fun getting these classic jingles stuck in your head.
PG Tips Tea - The Tipps
These fine long-armed friends have technically been featuring on screens since the 50s, but every kid growing up in the 80s will remember the Tipps Family, the tea-swigging wig-wearing humanised chimpanzees, which ran in time parallel with music legend Michael Jackson hitting the headlines for his oddball adventures with pet ape Bubbles.
I especially love the spoof 'Brook Bond' character, on a mission to keep the secret tea ingredient from enemy clutches.
1984Carling Black Label - I bet he drinks Carling
I bet he doesn't. He'd be face flat in his nuts. I also think this was the inspiration for the iconic 90s gladiatorial assault course, with added lycra.
1985 ishCadbury's Caramel - Take it Easy Caramel Bunny
So it turns out bunnies with eyelashes and curves in the right er, imagined places really sell chocolate bars. Yes sexy animal animations came to the fore with Cadbury's hitting confectionary gold with the safe-for-family-viewing Caramel Bunny, voiced by actress Miriam Margolyes of Harry Potter 'Professor Pomona Sprout' fame.
Not so safe was the 1988 release of the innovative live action animation film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, with the suggested parentally guided Caramel Bunny all grown up in the form of saucepot Jessica Rabbit.
St Bruno Tobacco - The patron saint of pipe smokers
Possibly the most famous St. Bernard on the planet before Beethoven came along, this advert made me assume they all carried packages around their necks (apologies to the pets I may have tried this on) and would always come to the rescue when I was stuck up a tree, or down a well, or isolated in the Artic Circle. Alas commercials LIE.
1987Kit Kat - Dancing Pandas
Okay okay, bit of a cheat as these 'pandas' are blatently Torvill & Dean in costume, but these cheeky cheats were the talk of my playground and quite probably the cause of many a grazed knee as we twirled ungracefully in imitation. More chocolate, more animals, more timeless catchphrases.
1993Wall's Sausages - Wwwwwall's!
Long before Babe the talking piglet came to be, there was Willy the banger-blinkered pooch. Inspired by Willy's legacy, Wall's gave the canine world an utterly bizarre second chance in 2011; nothing says 'thank you' more than a ring-sized keyboard playing French Bulldog, it would seem.
1994Andrex - The Andrex Puppy
Soft and strong and very, very long, and utterly forgiveable time and time again. You can hear parents up and down the country cursing that puppy and their kids with an early introduction to the menace of TPing.
Dulux - The Dulux Dog
A singing shaggy pup with a paintbrush in paw. What's not to love?
1995Budweiser - Frogs Bud, Weis, and Er
Not sure how to explain this one really, other than how it made beer contravercially amusing to kids. That and the writer's may have been watching Rupert and the Frog Song prior to the first storyboard.
1998Real Coal Fires - Dog, Cat and Mouse Kisses
Funny how an advertiser's power to twist the laws of Mother Nature still make you go 'awww'.
Compare The Market - Compare The Meerkat
Your finest spoof Russian Bond villain impression at the ready, this advert echoed in every element of my life. My boss would do it in board meetings, my mum would attempt it over the phone during our catchup's, I'd pass a group of lads who'd managed to drop the word 'simples' repeatedly in to everyday parlance. You are probably doing the accent in your head just reading this. And I bet your left eyebrow is raising in dramatic tandem...
2013Three - The Pony #DancePonyDance
A Thriller filler commercial break, with a moon-walking pony. Think this resonantes as I used to always imagine my toys came to life when I wasn't watching as a nipper, so a highly trained filly busting smooth moves behind a tractor isn't so far-fetched...
O2 - Be More Dog
Frankly any ad using the Flash Gordon theme song is a winner. But this one has action-cats!
2014Mercedes-Benz - Intelligent Drive Magic Body Control
Funniest ad I've seen lately. Anyone got a chicken I can try this with? The Merc version that is, not Jaguar's parody video response.
Freeview - #CatandBudgie
A pairing as unique as The Krankies, you've never witnessed knife-edge tenderness as hashtag-y as this. Freeview are also really rolling with the social media punches with their Twitter channel promising more chirruping and meows from the pair, and there's even a romantic Spotify play list to get you in the er, mood.
And O2's earlier foray into animal advertorial antics even included a squirrel, named Hemingway.
McVitie's - Kittens and Biscuits
Two of my most favourit things, combines in 29 seconds of crumbly cuteness.
Have I missed off your favourite? Let me know in the comments section below.