Using animals as characters in short ad films, strikes an instant emotional chord with the audience. This coupled with the fact that TV and films as media have greater popularity than print, ensures that TV commercials featuring animals have tremendous scope in selling a product, service or an idea.
Another reason for its greater popularity is that one is actually seeing the animals move about (or talk, in some cases), the 'cuteness' factor draws you in and makes you remember the ad. Hence, creating a higher brand recall.
Take for instance, the Hutch ad, featuring the cute little pug. His adorably serious facial expressions and habit of following and assisting his owner, the small girl in all her endeavours not only became very popular among the masses, but also led to increase in the number of subscriptions to Hutch service and created more brand loyalty. It also increased the sale of pug puppies across the country.
However, all is not hunky dory about TV commercials vis a vis print. The sunny side of print is that it uses only images of animals,so no animals are injured or harmed in the making of these ads. But since shooting for a TV ad, involves live animals, there is a danger of threatening the animals' interests and causing them harm, while making them perform 'stunts'. Vodafone evoked the wrath of the Animal Welfare Board for insensitive treatment to the pug.
So TV ads can do wonders to the business prospects of the company and also to the image of the animal (in terms of conservation and even the sales). But in doing so, maximum precaution is to be taken to not to hurt the interests of the animals and society.