Visit the Zoo or the Baby Seal Gets It.

The folks at the Denver Zoo have found a great manipulative slogan to get crowds through the turnstiles this summer: "Every time you visit you help animals."

I spotted this ad on an RTD bus on Colfax this morning, and managed to snap this pic from my passenger-side window. Although I captured the peanut, I didn’t manage to get the cartoon elephant with his mouth open, about to eat it. Basically, the ad is saying that people should feel good about patronizing the zoo because admission fees go to feeding the animals. And that's nice; everyone likes helping animals. But the flip side of this ad's logic would be what? That animals are not getting fed if folks don't visit?

I think the zoo could better drive the point home with lines like, "Visit the zoo so the polar bear cubs don't starve" or "Our chimps are forced to eat feces because you won't come!"

Now, that would be a great marketing campaign.

It reminds me of that 1973 National Lampoon cover that read, "If you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog,” which Westword parodied for the cover to our 2003 Year in Review issue. Except instead of a dog, we used a fluffy cat with a gun to its head. The gun was a toy, but it still earned a barrage of hate mail. And then there are the more recent internetisms, like "Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten.”

Hop in the minivan, kids, the animals need our help. -- Jared Jacang Maher

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Jared Jacang Maher