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Furry friends on screen

Published: 10th Feb 2020

“Ahhh! Isn’t he cute?”

From lovable pooches to mischievous feathered friends, there’s no denying that animals often steal the show on screen. Whether featuring in memorable TV adverts or sharing the limelight with Hollywood “A-listers”, animals are the real stars. Here at Models Direct, we take a look at some notable furry appearances throughout the years.

In 1972, the British public were treated to the first screening of the Andrex puppy, and the adorable young canine became as regular as the “Oxo Mum”. The company’s marketing campaign lasted several years, and was one of the most successful launches in British advertising. Could a human have pulled it off? Well, it wasn’t really something a human could have done, but still, the effectiveness of the Andrex puppy definitely stood the test of time.

Selling pet food? Then you need a pet model. Countless cats and dogs have been portrayed as lip-smacking endorsees of a variety of brands, each competing for the consumer’s attention. Generally, cats have fewer characteristic features than dogs, so perhaps cats in TV adverts are more generic. However, perhaps the most famous cat on screen is a blue-eyed white Persian / Turkish Angora – the pet of the notable baddie Blofeld in the James Bond films.

Dogs prove more ubiquitous, especially in films. Lassie is a global icon, and the relationship between the original canine (real name: Pal) and the handler Rudd Weatherwax was legendary. Never before had a superstar animal looked so relaxed (and happy) on set. Marley & Me was a global hit, but not because of the acting or screenwriting. Yes, Marley not so much pulled at our heartstrings as ripped them out. Young Marley (real name: Jonah) and adult Marley (Clyde) both had exceptional screen presence, and because Marley was a Golden Retriever, audiences could identify with the breed. Note to the producers: good choice.

“Cute” is not the word when describing one of the most iconic dogs of the 1980s…Got it yet? We’re referring to Tom Hanks’s sidekick, the slobbering Hooch (real name: Beasley) in Turner & Hooch. Hanks went through hundreds of dollars of dog hygiene products just to make the French mastiff presentable. Even when Hooch died, audiences allowed themselves an “Ahhh” factor when a baby Hooch revealed himself in the final scene. It seems even a smelly saliva-producing hound can be a screen hit.

Casting off the fur, let’s mention our feathered friends. Chrome was the name of the parrot owned by Diana Rigg, and he was used in both For Your Eyes Only and The Living Daylights. Parrots are excellent birds to star in films and adverts because of their talkative nature and their capacity to learn. If you have a chatty bird, why not think about similar business proposals?

There are several “fake” animals which made memorable appearances, too. Who can forget the Cadbury’s drum-playing gorilla banging out a rendition of “Into the Air Tonight”? And when Budweiser wanted a memorable advert to promote the 1995 Super Bowl, they opted for a trio of croaky frogs named…Bud, Weis and Er. This advert still holds a place in consumer’s hearts, which just proves that animal advertising has never proved so successful.

Who’s to say your pet won’t make it big…or even onto the big screen? Be patience, stick with Models Direct, and you never know. Your pet’s fame and fortune could just be around the corner. Keep tuned in to the Models Direct blog for advice turning your pet into a screen star.