OMG! Cause Groups Complain, Ad Age 'Unleashes' Witty Headline

verizon_lg_dare_pit_bull.jpg

It's a forgone conclusion that Verizon ads suck and deserve to be pummeled by bitchy ad critics such as those employed at trade rags like Adrants. Oh wait, that's us. Oops. That would be...leading industry publication Adrants. Now that we have that settled...

It's official. America has no sense of humor and has become so literal, no one can say anything at all without offending various cause group members who, due to an onslaught of grade school self-esteem-focused curricula which have rendered them incapable of chilling out and enjoying life without looking at it through a microscope.

So what's all the fuss about this time?

To promote the new LG Dare, Verizon is running a commercial that shows a guy climbing over a fence to steal (?) a Dare which just happens to be sitting on the hood of a car in a junk yard...guarded by pit bulls on chains. Granted, it's an idiotic concept and a ludicrous scenario but can you tell what the problem is yet? No? OK, let's spell it out.

The Humane Society, the ASPCA and Real Pit Bull claim the pit bulls are being unfairly represented and inhumanely treated in the commercial. The groups claim pit bulls are not guard dogs and, according to Humane Society Senior Director of Corporate Relations and Promotions (whatever happen to simple titles like Promotions Director?) Kathy Bauch, "perpetuates the idea that it is OK to chain dogs and it is OK to have guard dogs."

Um, has anyone heard of the term "junkyard dog?" I guarantee you that term was tossed about during the concepting session for this ad. Yes, it's stupid. Yes, it's derivative. Yes, it's lame. But we're talking about Verizon here; the company that treats men as if they are clownish buffoons and everyone else like doltish caricatures. The only thing that keeps Verizon alive is the fact it has the best network. Without that, it'd be laughed off the planet.

This pit bull ad is just par for the course. It makes perfect sense. They've exhausted crapping on people. Now they'll crap on animals for a while and what better animal the the steretypically maligned pit bull who, some would say, are actually really nice animals though I'll never, ever get one or go near one. But for the love of Bob Garfield, it's just a fucking commercial! Chill out, people. Go have a beer. Better yet, a shot of Grey Goose. Then watch the commercial. You might actually like it. Well, maybe not. It's still a shitty commercial but at least you can get off your high horses and find something better to do with your life.

And, Ad Age, that's not a metal joke collar. It's a regular leather collar.

Oh and don't miss MultiCultClassics' faux Bob Garfield letter to McCann Erikson complaining about this Pit Bullphobic ad.

by Steve Hall    Jul-22-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Commercials, Opinion, Strange   

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Comments



Comments

AMEN! These people complaining are nothing more then a bunch of up-tight hippies. They get upset at people (not just minorities) in commercials. animals in commercials and even the enviroment because "it doesn't represent that landscape in a favorable way." But these are the same people that will laugh their asses off at a guy getting hit in the nuts on Funniest Videos (in the priviacy of their own homes of course) or sent that religious spam e-mail to 25 people because they want to share that message or they really are that paranoid about having bad luck. You said it best with "it's just a fucking commercial!"

Posted by: Philllip on July 22, 2008 11:15 AM

I can understand the sensitivity of the "good" pitbull community over this, but yes they do need to seriously relax. I'm sure they wouldn't have made a peep if the dogs were boxers, rotties or dobies; all of whom are powerful breeds in their own right. If the Humane Society were smart they would have just issued a statement saying that "though they don't condone the manner in which the American Pit Bull Terrier is being portrayed in the advertisement we would like to take this opportunity to bring attention to such programs as Law Dogs USA (http://www.lawdogsusa.org/home.html), which is an organization that we support and utilizes the APBT and their overachieving ability as working dogs to protect our nation in a variety of law enforcement activities." You perpetuate the problem further by complaining about it and not offering a viable solution. You can still draw attention to your organization (Yes there is no other purpose here than PR) by being thoughtful opposed to reactionary.

Posted by: Marc G on July 22, 2008 2:07 PM

Brenda Raney, a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, said the ads were never intended to offend. "These are fictional ads, designed to be over-the-top, to break through the clutter and get our message across." Verizon is not pulling the spots, she said.

In this case the “fiction” they speak of is mimicking real life…pit bulls are routinely subject to rampant abuse, they are used as weapons to the detriment of the dogs’ well being. Many live horrible torturous lives of abuse, neglect, pain and being forced to fight to a bloody, painful death. This depiction is not fictional, it’s real, it happens every day and it’s abusive and it’s wrong. And, Verizon is using this negative image to “cut through the clutter” and make a profit.

If you recall the more than 60 pit bull dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting kennel were tethered with chains to concrete blocks and tire axels – just like in the Verizon Dare commercial. Fiction? I think not. There’s nothing fictional about it.

Verizon is perpetuating an all too real scenario in which this noble animal is abused, trained to be aggressive and is turned into an urban weapon. Worse yet, the company is capitalizing on this negative stereotype and using it to reach a very influential, young customer base – the EXACT demographic that needs to be re-educated that a pit bull is an amazing, loving, and noble animal and should not be tethered with chains and used as a weapon... it is NOT an extension of one’s manhood, toughness or street credibility. Marketing and Advertising must be done with integrity, intelligence and a great deal of responsibility.

Regardless of whether or not Verizon meant to offend anyone, the fact remains that they have acted irresponsibly and can fix the problem by simply apologizing for being so short sighted and remove the commercial. Perhaps they are “HEARING US NOW” but arrogance and hubris often times prevents us from truly listening to reason.

Verizon made a mistake, it happens to all of us. If they just remove the offensive commercial, they will avoid more bad will, lost customers, lost revenue and damage to their brand. Surely that has to make sense to someone over there.

Posted by: Jenni on July 22, 2008 5:18 PM

Brenda Raney, a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, said the ads were never intended to offend. "These are fictional ads, designed to be over-the-top, to break through the clutter and get our message across." Verizon is not pulling the spots, she said.

In this case the “fiction” they speak of is mimicking real life…pit bulls are routinely subject to rampant abuse, they are used as weapons to the detriment of the dogs’ well being. Many live horrible torturous lives of abuse, neglect, pain and being forced to fight to a bloody, painful death. This depiction is not fictional, it’s real, it happens every day and it’s abusive and it’s wrong. And, Verizon is using this negative image to “cut through the clutter” and make a profit.

If you recall the more than 60 pit bull dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting kennel were tethered with chains to concrete blocks and tire axels – just like in the Verizon Dare commercial. Fiction? I think not. There’s nothing fictional about it.

Verizon is perpetuating an all too real scenario in which this noble animal is abused, trained to be aggressive and is turned into an urban weapon. Worse yet, the company is capitalizing on this negative stereotype and using it to reach a very influential, young customer base – the EXACT demographic that needs to be re-educated that a pit bull is an amazing, loving, and noble animal and should not be tethered with chains and used as a weapon... it is NOT an extension of one’s manhood, toughness or street credibility. Marketing and Advertising must be done with integrity, intelligence and a great deal of responsibility.

Regardless of whether or not Verizon meant to offend anyone, the fact remains that they have acted irresponsibly and can fix the problem by simply apologizing for being so short sighted and remove the commercial. Perhaps they are “HEARING US NOW” but arrogance and hubris often times prevents us from truly listening to reason.

Verizon made a mistake, it happens to all of us. If they just remove the offensive commercial, they will avoid more bad will, lost customers, lost revenue and damage to their brand. Surely that has to make sense to someone over there.

Posted by: Jenni on July 22, 2008 5:20 PM

Brenda Raney, a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, said the ads were never intended to offend. "These are fictional ads, designed to be over-the-top, to break through the clutter and get our message across." Verizon is not pulling the spots, she said.

In this case the “fiction” they speak of is mimicking real life…pit bulls are routinely subject to rampant abuse, they are used as weapons to the detriment of the dogs’ well being. Many live horrible torturous lives of abuse, neglect, pain and being forced to fight to a bloody, painful death. This depiction is not fictional, it’s real, it happens every day and it’s abusive and it’s wrong. And, Verizon is using this negative image to “cut through the clutter” and make a profit.

If you recall the more than 60 pit bull dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting kennel were tethered with chains to concrete blocks and tire axels – just like in the Verizon Dare commercial. Fiction? I think not. There’s nothing fictional about it.

Verizon is perpetuating an all too real scenario in which this noble animal is abused, trained to be aggressive and is turned into an urban weapon. Worse yet, the company is capitalizing on this negative stereotype and using it to reach a very influential, young customer base – the EXACT demographic that needs to be re-educated that a pit bull is an amazing, loving, and noble animal and should not be tethered with chains and used as a weapon... it is NOT an extension of one’s manhood, toughness or street credibility. Marketing and Advertising must be done with integrity, intelligence and a great deal of responsibility.

Regardless of whether or not Verizon meant to offend anyone, the fact remains that they have acted irresponsibly and can fix the problem by simply apologizing for being so short sighted and remove the commercial. Perhaps they are “HEARING US NOW” but arrogance and hubris often times prevents us from truly listening to reason.

Verizon made a mistake, it happens to all of us. If they just remove the offensive commercial, they will avoid more bad will, lost customers, lost revenue and damage to their brand. Surely that has to make sense to someone over there.

Posted by: Jenni on July 22, 2008 5:20 PM

I love how people who seemingly don't know ANYTHING about breed specific legislation or its effect on pit bulls and other family dogs can sit back and say things like "chill out" and "relax" .
Many groups have put in countless volunteer hours to try and change the negative and inaccurate image of the APBT.
Verizon pulled a ferret commercial back in 2002 when a ferret organization complained (http://www.ferret.org/news/110102a.htm)
but they refuse to pull this one????? C'mon! This ad is bad press for anti-BSL organizations especially during a time in our legislative process that is doing a lot of focusing on BSL laws.

Posted by: L on July 25, 2008 10:09 AM

I love how people who seemingly don't know ANYTHING about breed specific legislation or its effect on pit bulls and other family dogs can sit back and say things like "chill out" and "relax" .
Many groups have put in countless volunteer hours to try and change the negative and inaccurate image of the APBT.
Verizon pulled a ferret commercial back in 2002 when a ferret organization complained (http://www.ferret.org/news/110102a.htm)
but they refuse to pull this one????? C'mon! This ad is bad press for anti-BSL organizations especially during a time in our legislative process that is doing a lot of focusing on BSL laws.

Posted by: L on July 25, 2008 10:10 AM

perpetuating stereotypes is just not cool. advertising is not known for it's high morals, but in an environment where cities like boulder, co are euthanising all pit bulls due to breed-specific legislation (bsl) that banns them, i can see how this is a huge issue.
bsl was based off of a huge myth that pit bulls are inherently human-aggressive. even you state your fear of the animal by expressing "I'll never, ever get one or go near one." your response that they are vicious seems like a pure assumption, as you suggest your lack of experience with the breed. and i can't blame you for your shitty assumption, it's ads like this that support it. so i say fuck the ad. pull it.

Posted by: veda on July 31, 2008 11:51 AM







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