Friday, February 3, 2012

Boycotting McDonald's

UPDATE: According to BADRAP, McDonald's has been quick to act: "In our effort to spread the word about our new Chicken McBites, one of our local markets ran an ad that inadvertently offended some of our customers. The ad was insensitive in its mention of pit bulls. We apologize. We are pulling the ad, and will review our creative screening process. It’s never our intent to offend anyone with how we communicate news about McDonald’s."  Clearly they saw that Greg's Gourmet was getting involved and didn't want anything to do with it!

A rare Friday post but an important one.  A little thingamajig has been circulating about a new McDonald's radio commercial that essentially asks what's more dangerous: trying a new Chicken McBite or petting a pit bull?  It first came to me in the form of an e-mail this morning with this attachment:

Now, this was NOT put out by McDonald's, as a few dense smartasses "cleverly" pointed out.  Pretty surprising message, but I wanted to wait to hear the ad for myself.  For those who don't know, I've done a lot of work with rescued and shelter pit bulls for the last year and a half.  One of the goals of anyone involved with such work is to show the world that the breed carries an unfair and untrue reputation as some sort of killing machine.  I've seen so many disgusting accounts of abuse and neglect - all perpetrated by humans, yet the word "pitbull" is such a magnet for attention for failing newspapers, poor media outlets, and, evidently, McDonald's marketing campaigns.

But one of the things I've learned while doing this pit stuff is to be patient and to ALWAYS get all of the facts.  Not surprisingly, many stories of pit bull attacks in the news aren't 100% accurate and sometimes the dog in question isn't even a pit bull.  Likewise, it's important to know all of the facts, always ask questions, and not to run with a rumor.  So while the Internetz were up in arms and launching viral protests, I searched the Google for the ad and just a few minutes ago finally found it.  It was just recently uploaded to YouTube and is rapidly circulating:

The original video I had posted was removed.  I'll let you form your own thoughts on that one

The first thing I noticed was the use of the word "stray".  Nobody had reported that, which, case in point, is why you always wait for all of the facts to properly verify something.  Does that make this any better or make me feel any better about McDonald's?  Not really.  Look, it's risky to go up to any stray dog.  You don't need Einstein splitting the atom to give you that valuable tidbit of information.  But calling out the pit bull when there are so many people out there who dedicate so much time and energy to rectifying this breed's image is simply infuriating.  Especially since uhhh it's McDonald's, bro. Risky? You want risk? Here's a clip of Morgan Spurlock throwing up from McDonald's:

Ironically I was thinking of getting some McDonald's when I received that e-mail.  But now I'm thinking that after all I've been involved with, after all I've seen, after all I've done for the breed, I don't think I can go to McDonald's in good faith.  And I'm really bummed about it because I love McDonald's.  The cheapness, the fat, the grease.  I love it all.  But like, what's the point anymore?  Last night I ranted on Jared from Subway, which really seems like nickels and dimes to this.  Jared wouldn't hurt a fly.  He may hurt someone who tries to steal his porno collection, but never a fly.  

The other thing to consider is that a lot of people will hear this commercial and not think twice about it, which is good.  There are plenty of people who simply aren't interested in dogs and this commercial will just bounce off them.  But for one of the most popular breeds in America, with millions of owners across the country, and for the people who dedicate their lives to helping these animals and trying to cut down on the millions that are euthanized in shelters every year, this ad is really a slap in the face, stray or no stray.  If my dog, a golden retriever, got out and was wandering the streets, she'd be a stray, too.  If frickin' Scooby Doo was out wandering the streets he'd be a stray.  

Pit bulls are not dangerous.  There is no breed that's more dangerous than another.  I can talk a whole lot about the subject but this is a frickin' food blog, not a humanitarian cause.  But you walk into any given animal shelter and the chances are good that half of the dogs will be pit bulls, abandoned, neglected, or abused, and this ad isn't doing them any justice.  You can send me a message or something if you wanna discuss it.

Cal, who was once a stray pit bull.  As you can see, I'm terrified

This isn't to say I'll never eat at McDonald's again - far from it.  I'd like for them to acknowledge how dumb of an idea this was and that'll be good enough for me.  Until then, though, I really don't feel I should go.  In the meantime, living in Southern California, I'm fortunate to be located in the birthplace of one of the best burger establishments in the history of the world: In-N-Out!

Just go to 19 seconds to hear my excitement

Thanks for reading!