Originally published 9/26/2004, updated 11/11/2004.
Anheuser Busch is back again this football season with its corporate advertising philosophy that Animal Cruelty = Beer Sales. Last year we had the distasteful Bud Light ad where Cedric the Entertainer was wooing a girl in a limo and the girl puts her tiny dog on the lid of the pop-up cooler. The cooler lid pops up, the poor dog sails up through the open moon roof and then hurtles back down, missing the moon roof and landing cruelly on the roof of the limo with a whimper. I emailed Anheuser Busch about the inappropriateness of that ad at the time and received a very tepid email in response about how they felt the ad was humorous to their audience.
Well, perhaps I only encouraged them. I can hear the advertising brainstorm session now: “Gee, if a woman doesn’t like it, maybe we’re doing something right!” Maybe they didn’t believe me when I said Engineerboy hated it, too. Because this year they’re back with more Cruel Animal Ads! Two cases in point, plus an added bonus I just recently discovered:
A man, without telling his girlfriend*, takes her tiny Pomeranian* to a Frisbee-catching competition. The dog, too tiny to really hold onto the Frisbee, tries anyway and ends up being hurtled spinning through the air by the Frisbee instead of being able to really catch it. Then a large Doberman comes along and catches the poor Pomeranian in its jaws. The poor pitiful Pomeranian whimpers as it’s caught in the Doberman’s mouth. Let me emphasize something here… a Doberman’s jaws could easily kill a dog as small as a Pomeranian. An ad such as this isn’t engaging in funny hyperbole or make-believe, it’s disgusting cruelty… and for what… to sell beer? (*Editor’s notes: I recently re-saw this ad and realized that his girlfriend does know that he entered her dog in the contest, but she doesn’t approve. And for those of you who may have read the earlier version of this article, the dog was originally mis-identified by me as a Pekinese, but I got a write-in that it’s a Pomeranian).
A football referee has made a bad call during a football game and he’s being mercilessly yelled at by one of the coaches. The commentator describes the event by saying that the referee is being “beaten like a rented mule”. What a horrible, horrible turn of phrase! Who would possibly okay that in the script for this commercial? Aren’t there a million other things they could’ve picked for that there, other than referring to someone horribly beating an animal?! Isn’t that a fabulous phrase for the company that does all those majestic ads with those beautiful Clydesdales? Why not make fun of retarded people, maybe, or the homeless? Maybe we could make jokes about a particular racial group… that could be real fun. I’m thinking that would be a real step forward for Budweiser. And, to top it off, at the end of the commercial, it shows