The top 8 greatest ads with animals – ever!

As excitement mounts for this week’s Veterinary Marketing Awards, a celebration of the very best in animal health marketing, it made us reflect on some of our past campaigns which involved working with animals. The gorgeous Red Setter helping its owner breakdance after taking Flexadin, the lovely Labrador raising awareness of pet obesity for Royal Canin, or the various elegant dogs and cats helping portray the Seresto flea and tick collar as a ‘must-have’ accessory.

And it got us thinking about what other animals have featured famously in advertising down the years. So,  we have put together a countdown of our top 8 favourites. But a word of warning. You won’t find any gorillas playing drums, dogs on skateboards or chimpanzees drinking tea in our list as we firmly believe animals should be treated with dignity and respect. So, while they may have been great ads in their own way, as they don’t follow the standards that govern how animals should be portrayed, they just didn’t make the cut.

8. Carling Black Label Squirrel

Come on, admit it. Every time you see a squirrel in your garden, you think about this ad or, if you’re anything like us, how you can create a similar assault course!

And the only reason, this ad is at number 8 is because of the talking owls at the end. The  anthropomorphism of animals just isn’t really our thing.

  1. Rolo and the Elephant

Okay, first things first, giving an elephant chocolate is not a good idea as, like most animals they shouldn’t eat chocolate as it’s toxic and can harm their health. The only reason this ad gets a pass is because the little boy doesn’t actually give the elephant the chocolate, only teases him with it. Which leads beautifully onto the elephant’s revenge, and as they say – an elephant never forgets! 

  1. Randy the Harp Lager dog

Okay, this is a little bit of a naughty entry, but it makes us laugh every time we see it (and the dog is okay in the end!)

A parody of the Gold Blend couple ads that were making a bit of a splash at the time, it perfectly positions Harp as a no-nonsense lager, but what we really like about it, is the dog is doing what some dogs do – being a bit annoying!


5. O2 Be more dog

A good example of a cat acting like a cat should act, until obviously it becomes more dog! Nominated for a Cannes Lion, this campaign saw O2 tap into the UK’s love of animals as a way to change consumer perceptions about O2 and encourage them to be more excited about the products and services they offer.

And before anyone criticises the section with the cat swimming in water, some breeds such as the Turkish Van and Maine Coon actually love getting their paws wet!

4. Felix the Cat

Okay, he might be animated, but there is something undeniably cute about Felix the Cat. First introduced as part of the brand’s relaunch back in 1989, what we particular like about these ads is that rather than giving Felix human characteristics, he behaves pretty much like a cat! In particular, we love this ad from 1994 where Felix looks a bit more catlike than in his current incarnation.

And if, like us, you think it’s slightly odd that Robbie Williams (yes, Robbie from Take That) is now the voice of the brand, it’s actually because he is a massive fan of cats. Go Robbie!

3. Lloyds Black Horse

Lloyds first started using the black horse as the symbol of their brand way back in 1884 and since the 1980s have used it on and off in their advertising campaigns.

The original black horse was called Downlands Cancara and as well as starring in numerous TV ads over the years, he made countless personal appearances on behalf of Lloyds and even raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities, including Riding for the Disabled and World Horse Welfare.

And in case you were wondering, yes, the black horses in the ads are all real.

2. Dulux Dog

Another iconic mascot has to be the Dulux Dog, who is now 64 years old!! Appearing in TV ads as well as in national newspapers and publications, it was actually a fluke which made him such a star. Dash, the original Dulux dog belonged to the advertising director of the 1961 campaign. He kept running across the set to play with the child actors, but when they came to editing the advert, he was so adorable they decided to keep him in!

Since then, there have been 14 Dulux dogs including Digby the Biggest Dog in the World!

And the good news is despite the Old English Sheepdog being placed on the Vulnerable Native Breeds list in 2020, the breed has now seen a boost in popularity over the last couple of years.

1.    The Andrex® Puppy

Seriously, how could this not have been in our number 1 slot! First arriving on our screens in 1972, the Andrex® Puppy has easily become one of the best loved advertising mascots of all time and has featured in over 130 different ads.

The funny thing is the original idea was to have a little girl running through the house trailing a roll of Andrex®, but television regulators thought this would encourage children to be wasteful, so the idea of using a puppy was born.

Hopefully, you enjoyed our list of favourite tv ads with animals, and if you do want any help coming up with an animal health marketing campaign (or for any other sector for that matter!), then do get in touch.