Animals in advertising — Fish — Other Fish
As I can't find a common denominator in the remaining adverts with fish, I might have chosen Odds and Ends for this section. Jobs, computer screens, shoes, printers, trucks, … most ads lack any originality and fall back on popular believe, easy visual games or sometimes even less than that. Unlike the other classes this fish do not have a clear identity, which makes them inadequate for the advertisement world.

The notion that we actually can learn from some of the examples in this section is not less than mind blowing.

first published: vi.2001; updated: x.2001

Expertise is nothing
without focus (1). The archerfish is endlessly impressive. It's focused enough, and expert enough, to shoot down its prey above the waterline, with deadly accuracy. They continue how expertly they are focused on goals and how they aim to hit the mark with their focused expertise. Why the archerfish ? It wouldn't surprise me if there was a documentary on television the night before the deadline.

More to learn
in the second example (2). You don't have to be a fish to drink seawater. 70 % of the earth is covered by water. Alas most of it is seawater. The company has devised an ingenious way to convert seawater to drinking water using a system based on hollow fine fibres —impersonated by the straw in the picture.
In case you are wondering : saltwater fish need to drink to compensate for the loss of water caused by the high concentration of salts in their environment. Freshwater fish have a job getting rid of seepage because of the high concentration of their body fluids.

(1) 2000 – Expertise is nothing without focus — asset management
(2) 1990 – You don't have to be a fish to drink seawater — desalination technology
(3) 2000 – Emergency. Seconds count. Speeding up, now! Stay focused. — laser printer

Far-fetched reasoning for
fast laser printers (3). This example is part of a series with several dangerous animals. I don't see why they stress focus but it is interesting how the concept is present in the picture. Only the first piranha is sharp. Note also how stereotypes are never far away : the piranha as a carnivore.

Don't expect real
heights of the remaining examples. They range from simple and easy to understand (like 4, 5, 6, and 8) over word-play (see 7, 9, and 11) but still a bit related with fish, to No. 10 where the need of fish is beyond my comprehension.

(4) 1984 – A case of emergency. In any case. — truck renting
(5) 2001 – diziweb is looking for fresh fish (m/f) — job
(6) 199? – You're on a healthy diet. Then you must cook healthy

The water repellent shoe
advert (7) is weird from start to end : Repellent. Is that a challenge ? You don't put a plaice sandal on your feet. You would rather put it in the refrigerator. For whom wanting to surprise continuously, challenge is an option. Not so for shoes. And that is only the beginning !

The fish in
cash on the nail (8) relates to the Dutch equivalent Boter bij de vis which translates as Butter with the fish. The copywriter fails to address the butter part of the saying. He might also have shown only a butter dish.

(7) 1999 – repellent, water repellent — shoe
(8) 1995 – And if I ask for cash on the nail? — investment

(9) 2000 – 187.500 e-mail accounts?
(10) 1993 – Yes, certainly; Panasonic gives you a clear view — computer screen
(11) 1992 – How our bottom line can help your bottom line. — telecom

The telecom advert
(11) is playing with bottom line. Their line lies on the bottom of the sea (couldn't be that deep though) and the fish are only needed as furniture. I have seen similar uses for matrix printers where a blue background emulates the silence of the deep sea. But the viewer wouldn't understand it without some strategically placed fish.

Any idea why
the designer choose fish in his work for computer screens (10) ?
It is obvious from the examples shown that most copywriters can't handle fish from the last class. Unlike the other classes this fish do not have a clear identity making them difficult to apply in an advertisement.

Other sections in
this chapter: