Cross-species commercialization

It’s widely known that certain dog breeds become fashionable after they turn up in films or television shows. This can be spell trouble because breeds chosen for cuteness or photogenic qualities are not always good for certain owners. Kelsey Grammer’s show Frasier started a run on Jack Russell Terriers, which is a problem because (as breed enthusiasts will be the first to tell you) Jack Russells are a very bad choice for families with small children. It isn’t always a matter of cuteness: the Rottweilers in the original version of The Omen made the breed’s sales go through the roof.

But I’d never thought about other types of pets becoming popular until the other day, when we rewarded the sprouts for good behavior during a long, dull shopping trip by taking them to a pet store to coo and squeal over the animals. Once we’d toured the obvious cuties (dogs, cats, parakeets, hamsters) we swung through the tropical fish section. The freshwater types were the standard array, but the salties were all featured in Finding Nemo — I mean, who ever heard of tangs before Ellen DeGeneres played one? This may well be the first time a Hollywood film has boosted fish sales. It’s not like Jaws sent people running to buy great whites.

All of which makes me wonder if this movie sent people running to the pet stores?

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