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Animals in Advertising: Analysis, Research, Facts

In order for businesses to succeed, it is important for their products and services to reach potential consumers. In doing so, they also attempt to build a positive relationship with consumers through advertising, but with the relevance of the Internet and social media, there is a whole new avenue of potential in building up a brand’s reputation. With the reach of social media, it has provided a perfect platform for building the valuable relationships with customers that translate to financial success.

A study done on brand logo recognition concluded people—all the way down to the age of 3, are most recognizable when animals are use, and recognition rates increase with age. Companies like Geico and Aflac both started brilliant ad campaigns with their respective animals over 10 years ago by recognizing that their names were synonymous with animals. One of the agency’s art directions discovered that, Aflac, an acronym for American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, sounded very similar to that of a duck’s quack and Geico’s name was often mispronounced as “Gecko”. From there spawned 2 very animal spokespeople, but their work around was to use CGI in order to achieve the same affect without the controversy that often comes with using live animals in commercials.

Both Geico and Aflac have recognized that 2 of the largest social media networks, Twitter and Facebook, would boost their value by keeping consumers engaged, both promoting company happenings and socializing in humanistic ways.

Facebook’s reach includes:



130 friends

  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
  • If you had 1 dollar for every minute spent on Facebook you could buy:
  • 2 cups of Starbucks every day for a year for every person in Brazil
  • You could buy 7 Mac laptops for every school-age child in U.S. You could buy 2 mountain bikes for everyone in China
  • You could buy 438 pounds of rice for every single person in Africa.

And Facebook’s global reach includes:

  • More than 70 translations available on the site

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  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States

Social media agency Syncape, revealed thаt thе value οf a Facebook fan fοr a consumer brand is around $136. The study аƖѕο calculated thе potential earnings frοm a Facebook fan compared tο those whο аrе nοt a fan аt аƖƖ.

Here аrе ѕοmе οf thе snapshots οf whаt thе study revealed:

  • Fans spend аn additional $72more thаn non-fans ($157 versus $85).
  • Fans аrе 28% more ƖіkеƖу tο continue using thе brand thаn non-fans (75% versus 47%)
  • Fans аrе 40% more ƖіkеƖу tο recommend a product tο thеіr friends thаn non-fans (68% versus 28%)
  • Fans аrе 42% more ƖіkеƖу tο feel a connection wіth thе brand thаn non-fans (81% versus 39%)
  • Fan interactions οn thе Facebook page resulted іn free οr earned brand impressions tο thеіr friends

– Twitter followers are more likely to buy from brands they follow (37% vs. 21%), and recommend brands to friends (33% vs. 21%).

Aflac Duck has a total of 274,133 Facebook fans and 11,607 Twitter followers while the Aflac page itself only has 11,642 fans on Facebook. Clearly the duck appeals to people more than the brand itself. Aflac posts roughly once a month to once a week whereas Aflac Duck posts daily, engaging users with witty status updates, random facts, and other topics open for conversation and have high “likability”. What’s more fun than talking to a fake duck? And after all this time I thought the only word he could say was “Aflac”.

Statistics show that company happenings actually increase the popularity of the brand, which is represented by the duck. Aflac Duck’s Facebook fan base spiked roughly between September 30th 2010 and Jan 23rd from 173, 826 to 225,277 fans while Aflac was pushing their “Beads for Courage” campaign. Afterwards, they were ranked #57 on 100 Best Companies to work for. Aflac Duck’s fan based dramatically increased again from 232,953 fans to 274, 133 on and after March 18th, when Gilbert Gottfried was fired for making inappropriate comments about the tsunami crisis in Japan.

Statistics show similar results between the Geico company page and the Geico Gecko Facebook page. Geico Gecko has a total of 161,433 fans and 2,713 Twitter followers while the brand only has 161,433 fans on Facebook. Geico posts status updates roughly every other day to once a week, posting lots of photos, videos, and other familiar, discussable topics. The Geico Gecko fan page experienced a dramatic increase in fans between March 17 and March 26 from 152,745 fans to 156,555 which correlated with a campaign that featured “The overly serious rhetorical question asking guy” and again around April 3 to Jun 27th from 156,769 fans to 182,1988 fans.


If the findings of what a Facebook and Twitter user’s approximate worth is combined with the actual numbers of Twitter Followers and Facebook fans, we can illustrate what the Geico Gecko and Aflac Duck’s lifestyle might be like, if they were actual people—specifically if they were baller-status rap artists.

Aflac Duck would make roughly 32 million a year, the earnings of rap artist 50 Cent. However, you will not be able to find him in the club with a bottle full of bub.

Geico Gecko would make roughly 21 million, the earnings of rap artist Lil Wayne, minus a few hundred tattoos, as Geckos have their own natural markings and have no need for them.


In conclusion, animals in advertising are extremely effective, as a broader spectrum of people easily recognize the brands this way. Combining the familiarity of a popular brand with the accessibility and interactive nature of social media makes for a valuable combination for businesses. If there were schnauzers in advertising, I bet that icon’s earnings would equate to that of Jay-Z, the richest rapper and with a hot girlfriend.



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