Here at Adages HQ, we've been fans of primates in advertising and in pop-culture in general. Indeed, it's gotten to the point that your humble writer has to insist to family members to ease up on monkey-themed gifts as my apartment is starting to come off as more than a little creepy. But the days of the monkey in advertising may be numbered. And the likely successor to the funny-animal throne may not be a puppy or a LOLcat or a LOLrus, but the humble goat. The goat is not only funny -- they talk, spit, faint -- the goat is also a practical and cheap animal.
It's still too early to know if any goats show up in the Super Bowl -- perhaps the truest measure of pop-culture domination -- but goats have been increasingly showing up in commercials and the news. (Or so it would seem.)
A goat has become the anti-Duck in this Aflac spot.
And a goat (or goats) seems to be taking on a more prominent role in Capital One's Visigoth (not Vikings!) spots. In this spot, the goat is on the list for an L.A. night club.
In a more recent spot, the goat objects to a Vegas marriage ceremony.
Goats, too, seem to be catching up to monkeys and apes in the "zany-news-story" category. You've got your goats on a restaurant (note: here's a Goat-cam), your goats on an IHOP billboard and your stolen goat riding shotgun with a suspected drunk driver.
And what have we seen from the simians lately? Not much. Just the ridiculously creepy and ill-advised digital chimp in the Robitussin commercials. What's a chimp doing buying Robitussin anyway? (Note: Such philosophical questions didn't occur to me when viewing the original spot with a real orangutan. Lesson? Digital apes are as off-putting as digital Orville Redenbachers.)
That weird Robitussin substitution -- and this one from Dodge in which a real chimp became an invisible one after griping from animal-rights groups -- brings up another point for the commercial-makers out there. Goats might not be mankind's next of kin, but the cloven-hoofed critters do offer some practical advantages over simians -- especially chimps.
As domesticated animals, chances are that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is less likely to have a fit when they show up in ad spots. (OK, so maybe they'll have a fit, but the screams will be a little less loud and it will be harder for them to line up celebrities to get on the save-the-goat bandwagon.)
Goats are cheaper than chimps and, once you have them trained, you can use them for the entirety of lives. Chimps are not only expensive, but they tend to be good for acting work only while young. The older they get, the more dangerous they get -- males especially. Chances are you'll never, ever read a news story about a goat flying into a rage and shredding a man's face or mauling a woman.
So, one man's opinion, but I'm calling it now. Goats are the new chimp.
Of course, goats have been known to be very opinionated and may have a thing to say about your choice of script or director: