Classroom Resources

Animals in Advertising

A look at why animals are used as a part of effective marketing, and critical examination of the humane aspect of using animals this way.

1. Animal Appeal in Advertising

Have groups of students brainstorm the different companies, products and ads that use animals in their advertising. Popular products using animals in their ads include:

  • Telephone services
  • Soft drinks
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Insurance
  • Gasoline
  • Batteries and more.

Show your students some example of advertisements on TV. There are hundreds of examples on YouTube. The following are just a few examples:

Ask students the following questions to get them thinking more about animals in advertising.

  1. Do you think using animals is an effective way to advertise, why or why not?
  2. What audience would be the most affected by animals used in advertising? Why?
  3. For the advertiser’s perspective, do you think it is more effective to use real animals or animated animals? Why?
  4. For the animal’s perspective, do you think it is better to use live or animated animals? Why?
Screenshot from TELUS - Bust a Move

2. Analyzing Ads

By looking in magazines or on the internet, ask students to look for advertisements that feature animals. Students can then select one of the advertisements and use the Analyzing Animal Ads activity sheet to help them analyze the ad.

When they are finished have them form small groups and share their ad and analysis.

3. Create your own Ad!

Ask students to create their own advertisement that features an animal. They can find pictures of animals, or draw their own.

Ask them to consider the following before creating their advertisement.

  • What are you trying to sell?
  • What animals do you think would be the most effective in your ad?

4. What do you think?

After reading and looking at some ads, ask the students to answer the following questions either through a journal entry, small group discussion or a debate.

  1. Should animals be used in advertising? Are they being exploited by people or is it merely a harmless devise to get us to remember a product?
  2. Do you think a large part of the proceeds made by animal entertainers should be returned to the animals (i.e.: spent upgrading their zoo habitat)?
  3. Has this exercise made you look at animals in advertising differently? How so?

Curriculum Connections

Grade 5
  • 2.2 Respond to Texts
    • Communicate ideas and information in a variety of oral, print and other media texts…
  • 2.3 Understand Forms, Elements and Techniques
    • Identify strategies that presenters use in media texts to influence audiences. 
Grade 7
  • 1.1 Discover and Explore
    • Discuss and respond to ways that content and forms or oral, print and other media texts interact to influence understanding. [for example: Students, in groups, view a variety of magazines advertisements and brochures. They discuss the images and methods used to attract reader interest.]
Grade 8
  • 2.1 Use Strategies and Cues
    • Discuss and respond to ways that forms of oral, print and other media texts enhance or constrain the development and communication of ideas, information and experiences.
Grade 9
  • 2.1 Use Strategies and Cues
    • Identify explicit and implicit and information in texts; listen and respond to various interpretations of the same text. 
English Language Arts 20
  • 4.1.2 Consider and address form, structure and medium
    • c. select an effective medium appropriate to content and context, and explain its use

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