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If you aren’t aware of the hoopla over McDonald’s and Pit Bulls lately, a quick recap: McDonald’s ran a radio spot in Kansas where it was stated that trying their new McBites was “less risky than petting a stray Pit Bull.” Pit Bull supporters, like myself, were incensed, to put it mildly.
I started a fanpage to share the ad with others, not knowing that several hours later, McDonald’s would pull the ad and issue a canned apology, claiming they meant no offense, and they’ll do better next time.
Some people are demanding that MCD donate money to Pit Bull rescue groups to offset the damage done.
I’m not one of those people.
For one thing, there are hundreds of Pit Bull rescue groups in this country, mostly all deserving and in need of funding. There is not one single large group in the country that would funnel money to all of the smaller rescues. Forget PeTA, they actually support breed bans. HSUS thinks mike vick (lowercase intentional) should own a dog again. Neither of these organizations runs a single shelter. Essentially, there is no fair and equitable way to distribute funds, and the ad has now been heard ‘round the globe so to give money to one organization that is going to use it only to help animals in their area isn’t really going to cut it.
We are in a unique position to be able to effect change that will set a precedent to ensure that our dogs are never vilified in an ad campaign again. Verizon did it. Burger King did it. McDonald’s has now done it.
I’m a keep it simple kind of person. They created a negative ad, now they should create a positive ad.
Allow me to illustrate the power that a commercial will have on our breed.
Prior to the George Lopez show, the vast majority of Latinos on television were background characters, and mostly maids, janitors, or gardeners. Because those images were so common, they became normal for most people. Over time, that normalization becomes seeped in one’s subconscious. This is one way we form stereotypes. The George Lopez show was groundbreaking in that it showed that Latino families are just like any other family. Sad that it took a sitcom to do that, but it did and with great results. It paved the way for more Latino actors to break into mainstream roles.
Pit Bulls have experienced a similar phenomenon. When they are featured in ads or shows, they are often portrayed as vicious, aggressive, and dangerous. It’s so commonplace, that it’s become normal for many people. In fact, it’s so rare that when we see a Pit Bull not behaving badly on tv, that we celebrate it when we do find it. Case in point: the Old Navy commercial with the Pit Bull puppies. And how about news stories? I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen the story about the stray Pit Bull in Florida that saved a woman from a knife-wielding attacker. We love these stories, and we share them.
The problem is, corporations don’t care about Pit Bulls. And we shouldn’t care if they care about Pit Bulls. We cannot make them care, it’s wasted effort. What we should care about, and what we can change, is how Pit Bulls are portrayed by companies when they are trying to profit. No one should profit from the continued vilification of this breed.
This is why I am asking for a commercial. Let’s state, loudly and clearly, that it’s no longer okay for companies to profit from Pit Bull hysteria. Let’s stand together, and stick together, and demand better for our dogs.
Let’s allow McDonald’s to be the jumping off point for a new era of Pit Bulls in the mainstream. Our fight is not against McDonald’s. Our fight is against the destruction of our breed through media-fueled negativity.
Let’s open the door to positive imagery. Let us embrace those that are willing to take that step with us, and to feature Pit Bulls being normal dogs, doing normal dog things.
McDonald’s stands to gain a lot of business from meeting our demands and although they’ve hurt us, we cannot let those emotions get in the way of progress.
McDonald’s is in a unique position to help pave the way for other advertisers to step forward and feel the love of the Pit Bull community.
We are known for being fierce protectors of our breed, and for being fiercely loyal to the companies that have already shown that they will not play into breed prejudices. How many of us have been overjoyed to find a small coffee shop that welcomes our bullies with open arms so we can sit on the patio with our morning brew, our faithful companion at our feet? What about the cashier at the drive through that tells you your dog is beautiful and she doesn’t understand why they have such a bad rap? The pet store that gives your dog free treats? We love these businesses, and we tell our friends, and we support them and help them grow.
We have nothing to gain by continuing a boycott against McDonald’s after our demand is met and everything to gain by inviting them into a relationship with the Pit Bull community. Welcome them with open arms, and prepare to see our favorite breed helping to promote the Golden Arches.
The petition is here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/pitbullsagainstmcd sign and share!