More than once since it first discovered the weird and wonderful world of pubs, the Diary has seen, “in the extremity of his ecstasy, blue mice and pink elephants”, as Jack London put it.
A new ad for Bombay Sapphire gin, a Diary favourite, picks up on this theme and features an Asian elephant, albeit grey, picking its way though a room full of glasses, walking up a staircase and dropping some olives into a glass of the spirit.
Maya, the elephant in question, was filmed against a green screen and, viewers will be shocked to learn, the room of glasses and staircase were added later.
However the ad, produced by New York agency Sugartown Creative, has incurred the wrath of charity Animal Defenders International (ADI), which has criticised the agency and Bacardi-Martini for using a circus animal.
ADI chief executive Jan Creamer says: “The Bombay Sapphire ad is a disgrace. It’s basically an elephant doing an archaic circus routine on command and then a background has been added later.”
However the Diary agrees with some of ADI’s comments; special effects mean that you can no longer believe what you see on the screen, and can it be hygienic for elephants to keep olives in their trunks?Despite the criticism about using a circus animal Bacardi-Martini insists that the animal had been treated in a “respectful, dignified and humane manner”.