Do the geniuses who create TV ads live in the real world or are they locked in ivory towers on Park Avenue, high above us all? If you’ve seen the recent Burger King ad, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It depicts a postal mail carrier with two dogs clinging to his derriere as he sings, “Rottweilers and Pit Bulls, doing the mailman thing…” Okay now. I’m guessing the ad men (or women) who created this bit of controversy isn’t familiar with the animal welfare world!  Maybe they’ve always “had it their way” and haven’t bothered to descend to the sidewalks of New York City or any other town in America for that matter.

Pit Bulls are given a bad rap by the media, thus a rescue group called BAD-RAP was formed in the Bay area.  We hear a troublingly high incidence of Pit Bull attacks but is this because the media chooses to only focus on this breed, or could it be that there are just so many of them – and they are often in the “wrong hands? ”  Groups such as BAD-RAP are working tirelessly to restore the reputation of Pit Bulls to loving family pets as they were bred to be.  The Burger King commercial is a huge step backwards.

Just this week, a book about the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennel was released called The Lost Dogs.  Some of these abused Pit Bulls have received certification to be therapy dogs and are living with families.  Their tales are truly heartwarming.  Maybe the positive press of this book will counter-balance the Burger King ad.

This ad also mentions Rottweilers who, for years, held the position as the media demon dog. Sentiments have thankfully changed for these loving dogs.  But there still remains something called the Black Dog Syndrome which all shelters are sadly too familiar with. Black dogs (and cats too) are least likely to be adopted.  There are several theories why but one is the obvious: The detrimental portrayal in films, TV and the media of black animals.

Burger King’s Facebook page says this about the TV ad:  “Thanks to all who’ve shared your thoughts on one of our breakfast menu ad spots. We respect all points of view & share your love for dogs too. The storyline of this spot was intended only to be a parody of the age-old “turf battle” between mailmen & dogs, nothing more than that. This spot is part of our multi-spot breakfast launch that will continue to run over the next few weeks. Thanks again for your feedback.” 

I sense a complete lack of understanding or willingness to understand the issue.  I believe they need to get their heads out of the fryer and into the hearts of Americans.