December 5, 2011
Ingenuity in advertising creates an entirely new type of demand
A few months ago I received a group email from a friend reading:
“I want one of these http://www.petitelapgiraffe.com/!”
I clicked the link and viewed a live feed of a hay-filled stall at Sokoblovsky Farm in Russia. At first all that I saw was the empty stall, but soon a tiny giraffe, about two feet tall, walked into view. It paused for a moment and then proceeded to walk away.
If I was an avid television viewer I may have recognized the animal from recent DirecTV commercials. The commercials feature a small giraffe in peculiar settings including running on a miniature treadmill and reclining on a settee. However, due to my low television consumption habits this was my first exposure to the Petite Lap Giraffe.
While I was exploring the site my inbox was filling up with the responses of others who had also received the email. One even read:
“I can’t believe these are real! That’s so awesome!”
While my sense of reason and skepticism said “Hmmm, No way” I was intrigued. After all, animals can be cloned and dogs seem to be available in smaller and smaller sizes every day. Perhaps the Petite Lap Giraffe was created by a team of diligent and creative scientists? Thus, I began my internet search for the truth. Part of me wanted to discover that this delightful creature existed. Within the first few moments of my search I found various blogs and articles discussing the validity of the Petite Lap Giraffe’s existence. Sadly, these articles confirmed my initial reasoning that this perfect pet is really a computer generated image. The tiny giraffe was birthed at an ad agency in New York City for a DirecTV marketing campaign. The animal was so well-received in the commercials that a website was developed to support the Petite Lap Giraffe’s story.
Although I was discouraged that the animal was a farce, I am astounded at the ingenuity of the marketing campaign. Not only did the campaign raise awareness for DirecTV, it created market demand for a product (and species) that does not even exist. The blogs and articles about this small pet are riddled with comments expressing disappointment that the giraffe is not real. Over one million people have joined the waiting list to receive their very own Petite Lap Giraffe…even me.