What's black and white and selling everything?

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Misc

Never mind what the Chinese calendar says. This is going to be the year of the penguin, at least on Madison Avenue.

Penguins have long been popular in advertising, but they have become even more so after three successful movies with penguin characters: ''Madagascar'' and ''March of the Penguins'' in 2005 and ''Happy Feet'' last year. They have helped turn the penguin into the new pitchbeast of choice.

There is, for example, Club Penguin, which offers a Web site for children at clubpenguin.com, and the revival by Perry Ellis International, under the Original Penguin label, of the apparel bearing penguin logos that was once sold by Munsingwear. Penguins appear in print ads for Dawn dishwashing detergent, sold by Procter & Gamble, and star in commercials for Coca-Cola Classic. Hallmark Cards centered a promotion on a ''dancing penguins'' Christmas tree ornament, and the National Geographic Society has spotlighted penguins in campaigns.

''There's obviously something about these little guys'' that is leading advertisers to think.

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