MARKETING MIX: Pigs win a place in our hearts, not our sandwiches

Audiences were so taken with the flying pigs in Zurich's recent campaign that they bombarded the financial services firm with calls demanding that the hogs be spared an afterlife as a bacon buttie.

The befuddled financiers were forced to set up a special 'hogline' to field the deluge of calls. Zurich PR hurriedly press released assurances that the portly pilots were being retired to 'luxury' accommodations at a farm in Cirencester, where they would live out the remainder of their natural lives eating only the finest slop and lolling about in premium mud.

Mix wondered: was the RSPCA pleased with this exemplary display of corporate social - erm, animal responsibility? We rang their press office to ask.

"A luxury farm sounds good, a spokeswoman said, adding somewhat stiffly: "Our concern whenever animals are used in ads is that they not be caused suffering or distress by being subjected to forced training, performing to a timetable or performing acts that do not come naturally to them."

Mix agrees. Pigs are highly intelligent, industrious animals, much like journalists - if a bit cleaner. Now if only the RSPCA might have a word with our editors about those infernal deadlines, which come no more naturally to us than flight to pigs ...

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