Still, it’s interesting to see how Skechers ad-makers gave an apparent facelift to Tucson Greyhound Park, the site of their “Mr. Quiggly” ad, in which a French bulldog outraces a group of greyhounds thanks to his Skecher’s athletic shoes.
The pictures to the left come from Grey2KUSA, the anti-racing group that sponsored a boycott of the ad, which aired during the Super Bowl.
I’m not sure if the improvements were digital or real, and, if real, whether they were temporary or permanent, but they raise the question: If the track is something to be proud of, as some backers of greyhound racing maintain, why did it need a cosmetic makeover?
Of course, the purpose of the ad was to sell sneakers, not expose the so-called sport’s seamy underbelly. But sprucing the place up beforehand does lend some credence to Grey2KUSA’s concerns that the ad would glorify greyhound racing.
The organization launched a boycott of Skechers before the ad aired and urged its backers to send their shoes back to the company. More than 122,000 people signed its online petition asking the company not to air the ad.
While that wasn’t achieved, Grey2KUSA says the company did make some changes to the ad, including removing “Tucson Greyhound Park” from the footage and digitally replacing it with a fictitious name, “Rexford Downs.”
In addition to altering the sign, the company also spruced up the grounds, the organization says, “bringing in green shrubbery, flowers and other improvements to make this otherwise dilapidated track look attractive.”
“It is not known if the greyhound racing ad will continue to air, but if it does, we ask you to continue boycotting Skechers,” Grey2KUSA informed its members this week.
According to Grey2K, dog racing continues in seven states, and three of those — Arizona, Iowa and Florida — have bills pending in their legislatures to ban it.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, advertising, animals, boycott, commercial, dog racing, dogs, facelift, french bulldog, grey2kusa, greyhound racing, greyhounds, makeover, mr quiggly, petition, pets, racing, super bowl, truth in advertising, tucson, tucson greyhound park, woof in advertising
Don’t be surprised if you see more canines than cleavage when it comes to this year’s Super Bowl ads.
At least three ads premiering during the 2012 Super Bowl will star dogs.
“You can’t go wrong with a dog,” Robbie Blinkoff, a cultural anthropologist told USA Today. “The dogs are idealized versions of ourselves. The dogs aren’t dogs — they’re us.”
As anyone who’s been following our “Woof in Advertising” series knows, sex may be the quickest way to a consumer’s groin, but the best route to a consumer’s heart (which we’d argue more often controls the purse strings) is through dogs.
Volkswagen is one company that’s shifted to more heartwarming ads, moving away from the mean spirited but funny ones of recent years.
In its 2012 Super Bowl spot, an extended Internet version of which is seen above, a dog sets off to chase a new VW Beetle only to realize he can no longer fit through the dog door.
He undertakes a makeover of his own, drops a few pounds and is off and running — through the dog door and after a shiny red Beetle. In the final seconds, the ads shifts to a Star War themes, in homage to VW’s popular 2011 Super Bowl spot that featured a child dressed as Darth Vader who thinks “The Force” helped him start a car.
“The Dog Strikes Back” will run in the second quarter of Sunday’s game.
Anheuser Busch, meanwhile, will introduce a new dog — a rescued mutt — in its ad for Bud Light. The dog’s name is Weego, and he fetches a bottle of guess what whenever he hears someone say, “Here, Weego.”
Then there’s the controversial Skechers ad, which the company hopes more people will find funny and inspiring than offensive. (Filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park, it has led to protests and a boycott of Skechers by the anti- greyhound racing group Grey2KUSA.)
Skechers, in case you haven’t stayed abreast, featured Kim Kardashian in its Super Bowl ad last year. This year it put its money on an athletic-shoe wearing French bulldog named Mr. Quiggly, who, in the ad, goes up against a group of racing greyhounds.
Leonard Armato, president of Skechers Fitness Group, says the spot is about inspiration — not greyhound racing: “We believe he’ll be the most lovable dog on the Super Bowl.”
As we’ve only seen a snippet of that one, and no sneak preview of “Weego,” we’ve got to go with the VW dog, for now, as most lovable. He’s a pretty magnificent beast, named Bolt, a 3-year-old Australian shepherd and St. Bernard mix.
As for how he achieved that amazing weight loss, you can find the answer in this “Making of The Dog Strikes Back” video:
(To see all of our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2012, ads, advertising, anheuser busch, beetle, bolt, boycott, bud light, budweiser, canines, cleavage, commercials, controversy, dogs, dogs in advertising, french bulldog, grey2kusa, greyhound, marketing, mr quiggly, racing, selling, sex, skechers, star wars, super bowl, the dog strikes back, tucson greyhound park, volkswagen, vw, weego, woof in advertising
Skechers has released a sneak preview of its upcoming Super Bowl ad, filmed at a greyhound racing park.
“Get a first look at Mr. Quiggly, the tiny French Bulldog with the heart of a champion, in his SKECHERS GOrun 2012 Big Game commercial,” a publicist for the company wrote in an email. “How will Quiggly find an edge to help him race on Game Day? Watch the preview to see his secret weapon in action!”
Meanwhile, the anti-greyhound racing group Grey2KUSA continues to fire away with its own not-so-secret weapon — a boycott of the shoe company, with protest rallies being held this weekend across the country.
Grey2KUSA says the ad glorifies a sport that is harmful to greyhounds, and points out that it was filmed at one of the country’s most injury-plagued greyhound parks.
Skechers vaguely refers to the “controversy” over the ad in its email: “There has been a lot of talk about Skechers’ new commercial… With a four-legged celebrity taking center stage this year, the campaign has definitely stirred up some controversy, but Skechers believes the spirit of the ‘underdog’ will be a big winner on Game Day.”
In the ad, filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park, a Skechers-wearing French bulldog outraces a group of greyhounds. The ad also features billionaire technology mogul and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
The ad will be aired during the Super Bowl on February 5.
Grey2K coordinated a series of protests this weekend, all held in front of Skechers stores and other outlets at which the shoes are sold.
“No Skechers” events were scheduled this weekend in Tucson, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Boston, Albuquerque, Salt Lake City and at locations in Florida, Colorado and Michigan.
“Tucson Greyhound Park’s greyhounds are kept confined in small cages which are barely large enough for them to stand up or turn around. They are fed raw 4-D meat, the meat of downed, diseased, disabled or dead livestock. These conditions were documented in recent inspections by Pima County investigators and by a GREY2K USA undercover video first released in 2010,” the organization says.
Additionally, the state of Arizona documented nearly 1,000 injuries in the last reported years of 2007- 2009, including broken legs, sprains, dislocations, muscle tears and strains, lacerations, a cracked skull, broken backs, heat stroke, puncture wounds and paralysis.
“Instead of promoting such cruelty, companies should be asking for it to end,” Grey2K says.
More information can be found at boycottskechers.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advertising, animals, boycott, commercials, conditions, cruelty to animals, demonstrations, dog, dogs, dogs in advertising, french bulldog, grey2kusa, greyhound racing, greyhounds, injuries, mr quiggly, pets, protest, quiggly, skechers, super bowl, tucson greyhound park, woof in advertising
When is a funny Super Bowl ad not very funny?
When it promotes animal cruelty.
While they haven’t seen the ad in question, an organization that works to ban greyhound racing says that ‘s what the athletic shoe company, Skechers – intentionally or not — is doing.
As we reported a couple of days ago, Skechers, having concluded its contract with Kim Kardashian, has turned to a dog to advertise it’s shoes, and its planned Super Bowl ad features a French bulldog — in Skechers, of course – competing against greyhounds in a race.
The ad was filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park, which the anti-dog racing organization GREY2K USA says is notorious for treating greyhounds poorly. Greyhounds are kept in small cages which are barely large enough for them to stand or turn around, fed diseased meat, and get injured at a clip of nearly once a day. According to the Arizona Department of Racing, nearly 1,000 greyhound injuries occurred at the park between January 2007 and November 2009.
Grey2KUSA says it contacted Skechers after learning the ad had been filmed, aksing that the “misguided promotion” be canceled. It started a petition urging Skechers to pull the ad at Change.org, and it had nearly 80,000 signatures as of the end of this week.
Grey2K is calling for a boycott of Skechers, and is urging its membership and others to write emails to those involved with the ad:
•Skechers President Michael Greenburg at email@example.com
•Skechers Vice President of Media Gary Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
•Mark Cuban at email@example.com (Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is briefly featured in the ad.)
•NBC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And the organization is also running a contest for the best protest photos (such as the one of the greyhound atop this post). The top three entries will win a Grey2KUSA cap.
Protests have been planned at Skechers outlets, and, on Jan. 28, at Tucson Greyhound Park.
Skechers marketing chief Leonard Armato says there are no plans to pull the ad — scheduled to be shown during the Super Bowl Feb. 5. He said the ad doesn’t condone animal cruelty, and pointed out that it has not been seen by any of those who are protesting.
“That the ad is running during the most heavily watched sporting event of the year suggests that greyhound racing is a sport. It is not,” said Grey2K President Christine Dorchak. “It is greyhound cruelty.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ad, advertisement, animal cruelty, animals, athletic, ban, dogs, football, french bulldog, grey2kusa, greyhound racing, greyhounds, marketing, pets, racing, shoes, skechers, sports, super bowl
Anti-dog racing groups say Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Nitro, West Virginia, has had an alarming number of greyhound injuries over the past six years — more than one a day.
West Virginia Racing Commission records analyzed by Massachusetts-based Grey2K USA show that, in addition to 1.4 injuries a day, 152 dogs were euthanized during that period, only seven of those because of illnesses.
Carey Theil, executive director of Grey2K, the anti-dog racing agency that spent years trying to obtain the records, told the Charleston Daily Mail that the numbers are the highest the group has seen at any U.S. track.
An ASPCA spokesperson called the figures “appalling.”
Track executive Dan Adkins said the number of injuries has dropped the past two years and is near the national average.
Adkins insists dog health is a top priority for the track’s parent company, Hartman and Tyner Inc. of Hallandale, Fla. Out of more than 43,400 racing starts last year, he said, there were only 25 deaths.
The records show about 750 broken bones, and more than 300 career-ending injuries.
Grey2K says the true number could be even higher than state records indicate because more than 13 months of data is missing. The Racing Commission told the Daily Mail it could not find those records.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, aspca, carey theil, cruelty to animals, deaths, documents, dogs, euthanasia, grey2k, grey2kusa, greyhound, injured, injuries, mardi gras casino & resort, nitro, pets, racing, records, west virginia, west virginia racing commission
More than 3,000 people poured into Raynham Park over the weekend for the final day of live greyhound racing at the 69-year-old park, its last day in Massachusetts and, possibly, its last day in all of New England.
The end of greyhound racing in in Massachusetts is the result of a public referendum — 56 percent of voters favored banning the so-called sport — and part of a national trend driven by a mix of animal-rights concerns and declining track attendance, according to the Boston Globe.
Raynham Park staged its final race Saturday night.
Live dog racing has also ceased in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and, temporarily at least, Rhode Island. It continues at 23 tracks in seven states, 13 of them in Florida, according to the anti-dog racing organization GREY2K USA, which formed in 2001. At that time there were 49 tracks in 15 states.
“I just thank Massachusetts voters for giving greyhounds a second chance,’’ Christine A. Dorchak, president of GREY2K USA. “We have finally reached this wonderful day.’’
Many of the dogs, maintained by a network of kennels, will move on to race in other states, but several hundred will be looking for new homes. Raynham is working with GREY2K and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell Animal Medical Center to aid their adoption.
“People who voted to end dog racing should step forward now and take a dog home,’’ Dorchak said. “This is the happy ending we all worked for, and these dogs make wonderful pets.’’
For the first six months of 2010, the track will remain open for simulcasting, where patrons bet on horse and dog races from across the country shown live on closed-circuit televisions.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 28th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animal rights, animal welfare, betting, closings, closures, dog, dog racing, end, final, gambling, grey2kusa, greyhound, greyhounds, last, massachusetts, race, racing, raynham park, track
Greyhound rescuers in Wisconsin are preparing to find homes for hundreds of racing dogs that will lose their jobs when Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha, the last of Wisconsin’s five greyhound racing tracks, closes at the end of the year.
Pat Zimmerman of Fond du Lac, a member of Heart Bound Greyhound Adoption, estimated between 300 and 900 dogs will need to find homes. The group will be taking many of the dogs into foster homes to prepare them for adoption, according to the Post Crescent in Appleton.
Zimmerman said that some of the racing greyhounds will go home with their owners, others will be relocated to out-of-state racetracks, and a third group will go back to racing farms to be bred.
Meanwhile, the newspaper reported, the state chapter of Greyhound Pets of America is trying to quell a rumor being circulated through email and Facebook claiming 900 greyhounds could be killed if they’re not adopted soon.
In addition to the closing in Wisconsin, hundreds more greyhounds will be in need of homes in connection with the closing at the end of this year of Phoenix Greyhound Park, one of three remaining dog tracks in Arizona.
For a list of links to greyhound adoption websites, visit Grey2kusa.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, arizona, close, closing, closures, dairyland, euthanasia, grey2kusa, greyhound, greyhound park, greyhound pets of america, greyhounds, heart bound, homes, kenosha, needed, phoenix, racers, racing, rumor, tracks, wisconsin
Twenty greyhounds died or were euthanized after races in Texas last year, according to records obtained by GREY2K USA, a Massachusetts-based group seeking to end dog racing nationally.
The 20 were among more than 310 that had minor-to-major injuries.
Christine Dorchak, president and general counsel of Grey2K, said the figures from the Texas Racing Commission show the need to halt an industry in which dead and injured dogs are considered “a cost of doing business.”
Breeders and track proponents say the injuries and deaths represent just a tiny percentage, when compared to the tens of thousands of times dogs collectively race around tracks. Nearly two-thirds of 2008 injuries were rated as minor, according to the commission.
“For us, that’s like saying no dogs should be athletic,” Diane Whiteley, a breeder and executive director of the Texas Greyhound Association, told the Houston Chronicle. “Anybody that’s ever had a greyhound that’s been injured feels awful about that. They’re like your kids.”
Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque, the only Texas track that currently has live dog racing, accounted for most of the 2008 injuries with its year-round racing schedule. Valley Race Park in Harlingen raced part of last year and since has taken a break in live racing.
(Photo by Denise McFadden, courtesy of Grey2kusa.org)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, christine dorchak, deaths, dogs, grey2kusa, greyhound, greyhounds, gulf greyhound park, harlingen, injuries, la marque, races, racing, texas, texas racing commission, tracks, valley race park
As Rhode Island debates the fate of its only greyhound racing track, an advocacy group is planning a weekend rally calling for an end to the sport in the state, the Associated Press reports.
The group GREY2K USA, a chief proponent of a successful ballot question in Massachusetts last year to ban greyhound racing at the state’s two tracks, is planning a Saturday rally in Providence to urge Rhode Islanders to ban the sport as well.
The Massachusetts ban takes effect in January. And New Hampshire’s two remaining tracks plan to end live racing.
“The handwriting is on the wall, and it makes little sense for lawmakers to stand up and buck this trend,” said Christine Dorchak, president and general counsel of the organization.
In Rhode Island the debate has focused more on the sport’s profitability rather than on the treatment of dogs. Legislators awant to expand greyhound racing. Over the objection of Gov. Don Carcieri, lawmakers have moved to force a bankrupt, state-licensed slot parlor to run 200 days of live racing at its greyhound track even though current law only requires 125.
Carcieri, a Republican, vetoed the legislation, but lawmakers in the Democratic-dominated General Assembly say they expect to override it. Supporters of the dog racing bill say it’s necessary to save 225 jobs, including pari-mutuel clerks, bartenders and security workers, and preserve tax revenue. They also argue the public shouldn’t be penalized for what they say are the bad business decisions of the owners of the gambling parlor, called Twin River.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 16th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: debate, dog racing, dogs, gambling, governor, grey2kusa, greyhound, greyhound racing, legislature, massachusetts, racing, rhode island, tracks, twin river