Wow! File this one under “How stupid can you get?”, “Open mouth, insert foot” and probably a few other categories.
I have little sympathy for the PC sensitive, but I am anti-stupidity, and I have a serious problem with pit bull-bashing. I listened to the ad, and to me, it’s not hard-core pit bull-bashing; it’s supposed to be humorous and it is put forth in a very light-hearted fashion. On the stupidity scale, though, it’s off the charts!
Here’s the quote:
“Trying a brand new menu item at McDonald’s isn’t risky. You know what’s risky? Petting a stray pit bull.”
Why is it stupid? Let me count the ways! But, I’ll focus on the one that doesn’t involve my personal feelings:
It’s a huge PR mistake. If I had to take a guess I would say that McDonalds probably falls in the top 10%, or better, of entities with PR knowledge and experience. How could they let this slip? Anyone with even less-than-basic marketing knowledge knows that attacking dogs in general is going to piss off the majority of Americans and attacking pit bulls, which have a large “special interest” backing is going to create a serious backlash. So, even if I agreed with the joke, I would still say “You had to know this would come back and bite you in the ass!” (no pun intended)
Getting a little more personal, if you know pit bulls or dogs in general, you know that breed is irrelevant. Of the pit bulls I’ve known or met, the biggest danger was that they might lick you to death.
Now I’m not ruling out the possibility that this was a bait-and-switch “mistake”. Set it up to go viral and then, after the backlash, coast on some donations to pit bull rescue, with free advertising. Yeah, maybe it’s not so stupid after all?