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Animals In Our Society Essay

1580 words - 6 pages

“Much as we might want to understand animals at a level deeper than pop culture, we can only understand them in terms of our own experiences, language and emotions, and interpreted within our social, historical and cultural contexts. The only way we have of understanding animals is to recognize that ‘when we gaze at animals we hold up a mirror to ourselves’ (Corbett, 176). Animal messages are brought to us by the pop culture industry, whose job it is to create, disseminate, and sell meaning. In most cases, they aren’t selling you a moose, but what a moose means to you for example – the characteristics and qualities that you and most people associate with the species. Based on common meanings presented to us from an early age, animals are the perfect shorthand communication symbol. We use animals as devices, metaphors and symbols for a great deal of our expressions and ideas” (Corbett, 179).

For years, animals have been at the center of our world; “the lives of animals and humans have been inextricably intertwined” (Corbett, 178). Thus, based on the close relationship between animals and humans throughout history, in my opinion animals have been used in all cultures to reflect the nature of humanity, symbolizing societal and individual characteristics. The traits of animals are very simple to observe and recognize, whereas human behavior is more intricate and difficult to describe. Animals are familiar creatures to us, which mutely encourage projection of people’s emotions and attitudes onto them. Animals can be used and as we have learned most recently, they are used to convey deep dimensions of human feelings and ideas. When I think of animals, their representation and their symbolism in our society, I immediately think of animals used in and for advertising. So let me talk about television advertising for a bit, because that is where we see most of this phenomenon. Television advertising has basically become a “virtual zoo” that features a very wide variety of what humans might call ‘corporate spokesanimals’ or ‘spokescreatures’ so to speak. If you think about some of the most famous ‘spokescreatures’ that you see on TV what comes to your mind? I’ll tell you what comes to my mind: The Energizer Bunny that just keeps on going; the GEICO gecko that promises to save you 15 percent on your car insurance; the AFLAC duck that never can get anyone’s attention; the Planters’ Peanut, looking as sophisticated as ever with his top hat, spectacles and cane; Tony the Tiger emphasizing – THEY’REEEE GREATTT! There is something very clever to be said about a corporation that uses an animal to talk to its prospects, but are we really sure what that is? Are we sure what to say about a society that listens, and responds to spokescreatures?. Perhaps we find them more credible than spokespersons. Advertisers have long used animals to symbolize certain qualities in their products and services. And as we have learned in this class, the newest trend, particularly...

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