Friday, February 3, 2012

Pit bulls deserve a break today

Dear McDonald's,

Wanna know what's risky? Offending pit bull owners across the country.

Social media was all a-Twitter today with the McDonald's radio ad for its new menu item. Several of the pit bull groups I follow via Facebook posted a notice as well. The radio spot says trying a new menu item at the fastfood chain isn't risky, and suggests somethings that are ... like petting a stray pit bull.

I wanted to embed the YouTube clip here, but guess what -- it's been pulled.

See, McDonald's underestimated the response not only of owners, but animal activists, rescue organizations and many others. It's pretty amazing that a company that big, didn't have one person who stood up to say "Hey, should we think about this for a minute? Getting breed-specific can be pretty touchy." We are hoping this doesn't affect the rescue efforts of the Animal Protection Center or other shelters.

The ad could have simply said, "You know what's risky? Petting a stray dog. That's risky."

Instead, they went the other way. I hope the fallout is huge and lasts a little longer than the usual outrage over stupid advertising mistakes. Responsible pit bull owners work too hard to change the image that media continues to perpetrate to have it blown with at 30-second commercial for an artery-clogging conglomerate.

Casey-Leigh Stock, an organizer with the New England Bully Breed Club, drafted a fabulous letter to the company, reminding anyone who reads it that this is an old and noble breed made up of war heroes and "nanny dogs."

There's a nagging little part of my brain that says McDonald's new what the fallout would be and was banking on the free media. In a way, I feel like I'm playing into their greasy corporate hands.

At the same time, I don't really care. My daughter has refused to eat a that place since seeing "Super Size Me," although I've tried to point out everything in that movie that was manipulated to make a point. Now, she has a real reason, as does the rest of my family.

The only reason I'll take them to McDonald's after today is so Hathaway can make his own little golden arch on the sign out front.