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Woof in Advertising: Doritos “Cowboy Kid”

I don’t remember seeing this Doritos ad during the Super Bowl. Maybe it came later in the game, after the outcome was clear and I tuned out, which as I recall was shortly after the first snap.

Had I seen it, I would have squawked in a more timely manner, because — even though fans chose it as a favorite — I do not like it at all.

Dog riding, like dogfighting and dog racing, is cruel.

And even though special effects were used in this depiction of a kid saddling up on the family mastiff — so he can beat his brother to the bag of Doritos — it sends a bad message to kids (and grown-ups) who don’t know any better.

The ad was one of five finalists chosen in the Crash the Super Bowl ad contest, in which Doritos invites the public to submit their home-made Doritos ads and awards $1 million to the winning commerical.

The “Cowboy Kid” ad came in second, but that was enough to win its creator, Amber Gill, a 34-year-old vocal coach from California, $25,000, a trip to the Super Bowl and a movie contract — and a little criticism from animal welfare types.

Both “Cowboy Kid” and the winning fan-made commercial, “Time Machine,” aired during the Super Bowl and were viewed by an estimated 100 million viewers, minus those who gave up on the big game early on.

Still, given a few of those 100 million are likely stupid or naive enough to try this at home — as any regular reader of this website knows —  I’d have to side with those who are complaining about the ad. While making it didn’t involve any dog being ridden, it’s irresponsible ad-making.

Gill told the Orange County Register the idea was inspired by her owns sons, aged 3 and 1, meaning — we’re pretty sure — the sibling rivalry aspect, as opposed to the dog-riding one.

So we’ll have to give this ad a failing grade, and point out — because, unfortunately, it’s not entirely needless to say — don’t try this at home.

If junior needs to get his cowboy on, we’d suggest a saw horse, or daddy’s back. Otherwise, that crunch you hear might not be Doritos.

(To see more of our Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)


Comment from Lynn
Time February 27, 2014 at 10:44 am

I can just imagine what would have happened if I’d answered my mother with “I don’t know, can you?”

Comment from Tina
Time February 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm

I thought the dog was cute… but, having a mastiff, I often get the “can I ride him” comment, too. Which gets really old.

There is a huge tendency in commercials these days showcasing really rude children as “cute”… Halo, anyone?

I find them all repugnant.

Comment from BeckyH
Time February 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I totally agree, I didn’t like this ad for the same reason.

Comment from Julie Smith
Time March 4, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more. Kids riding dogs? Not very smart idea.

The ad is really an invitation for kids to try this dog riding at home. It is an inviting ad for kids, eating Doritos in a sunny day while playing cowboy riding the dog looks very tempting to a child. It is a fact that kids try at home what they watch on TV, especially when kids are involved in the ad or movie.