Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dare to be responsible.

Well, Pit Bull guardians are nothing if not loyal. The outrage that echoed all across the internet this past week over a Verizon commercial for their new Dare phone was impossible to ignore. Letters and emails shot out from all over the country, and Verizon services were canceled in the blink of an eye. Our dogs are big mush pots, but man their owners are tenacious and quick-acting. The controversy even got AdAge Magazine talking

The commercial in question featured snarling, chained Pit Bulls, and a man jumping a fence into the yard that contained them (trespassing, we might add), all in an attempt to reach a phone and hence bringing himself within an inch of being mauled by the dogs. Advocates were understandably angered by the inaccurate and harmful portrayal of their breed. We all know APBTs as loving, sweet, and really bad guard dogs, but the general public has the mistaken belief that the dogs are mean, vicious and well, just like they were shown on that Verizon ad. When people believe falsehoods about Pit Bulls, the breed gets banned, families are torn apart, and innocent dogs die. Our job as guardians and advocates is to help the public understand the breed and ads like Verizon's just enforce incorrect views, leading to support of bans and mass euthanasia. This isn't a knee jerk response due to hurt feelings - lives are at stake, here.

Wouldn't it be nice if companies paused to reflect on the possible negative effects of the images they use in their advertising? A little responsibility goes a long way.

1 comment:

barbaraleeanderson07090 said...

The insensitivity of Verizon Wireless' marketing executive for the East Coast, Brenda Raney, is beyond comprehension. Her dismissal of our concerns by saying that there were no other dogs available for filming of the commercial than pits (which I find beyond belief); and that the ads are simply fictional, "designed to be over-the-top" is reprehensible. Would she feel the same way if the ads were filmed using a Middle Eastern man of Muslim faith sitting in his Muslim attire, holding a machine gun, guarding his LG Dare? How about a poor, pregnant, barefoot woman hanging clothes with her LG Dare clipped to her apron? How about an African-American man sitting on the porch eating watermelon while his LG Dare rings beside him? Stereotyping is hurtful, disrepectful, rude, and outright wrong on every level. Does the fact that the victims in Verizon's ad are dogs make them any less victims?? Verizon needs to pull the ads, make a public apology, discipline its marketing executives for their insensitivity and make a HUGE financial contribution to a pit bull rescue.