Tag: greyhound racing
Remember that Super Bowl ad for Skechers athletic shoes — the one that featured Mr. Quiggly, a French bulldog, racing a group of greyhounds at an Arizona racetrack?
It led to some major backlash, mainly from Grey2K USA, an anti-greyhound racing group that had documented abuses at Tucson Greyhound Park, where the ad was filmed. The organization, and others, tried to get the ad pulled and then called for a boycott of Skechers, saying the ad promoted cruelty.
Given all that, what is one to make of this?
A band called Swedish House Mafia — if band is even the right word – has teamed up with Absolut Vodka to create a commercial that promotes the musical group, and the vodka, and, seemingly, the racing of futuristic greyhound robots.
I don’t begin to understand what’s going on in the ad, but the band members appear to be taking part in some sort of virtual greyhound racing experience in which they are the dogs, as a crowd of people dressed in Lady Gaga-like attire and wearing too much make-up watch, biting their lips in excitement.
One of the digital greyhounds takes a fall at some point, but gets up and keeps running.
Most people seem to find the ad, and its pounding techno dance club music, highly cool, but an Arizona greyhound rescuer and blogger has lashed out against it, saying it promotes animal cruelty. “…Greyhounds are once again perceived as futuristic exploited racing machines,” Karyn Zoldan wrote on her blog, Tucson Tails. “The video is a deadly cross between Project Runway and Mad Max.”
“…This ad is haunting…haunting in the way it promotes greyhound racing as subhuman depravity. Haunting in a way, I feel nauseous and want to vomit.”
GREY2K USA, to its credit, hasn’t taken a position on the Absolut ad, deeming it not worth pouncing upon, given no greyhounds were used in it and those depicted are computer-made images.
Besides, complaining about an ad so oddly ambiguous and unclear in its meaning — if it has any – would be a waste of time, and who has time to waste in today’s fast-paced world?
If you’re wondering what greyhound racing and vodka have to do with each other, the answer is absolutely nothing. The only connection I can see is that there was — even before Absolut had the foresight to put them in the same bottle — a vodka and grapefruit juice cocktail called a Greyhound, and adding salt to it makes it a Salty Dog.
While we don’t object to cocktails being named after dogs, or to consuming vodka, or to mixing it with grapefruit juice, we”re all for an end to greyhound racing.
While slowly fading away, it continues in seven states.
Racing greyhound robots, though? We have no objections to that. In fact, it can even be looked at as a solution.
If only robots were raced at greyhound tracks, industry employees would learn news skills more befitting modern times. There would be employment opportunities for all the techno-nerds who build and service them. There would be no worries about feeding or humanely maintaining the dogs. There would be no exploitation of animals for human gain — just exploitation of robots, and I kind of like that idea, at least until they turn on us. There could even be techno dance music pumped in, and vodka-based beverages served.
And, odds are – when it comes to the real, breathing versions — there’d be a lot more happy greyhounds.
(To see all our Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: absolut, absolut greyhound, advertising, animals, cgi, commercial, cruelty, dogs, dogs in advertising, grey2k usa, greyhound, greyhound racing, karyn zoldan, marketing, pets, racing, swedish house mafia, tracks, tucson tails, video, vodka, woof in advertising
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
I base this report mostly on advertisements shown during the first half of last night’s Super Bowl — for I began to tire during Madonna’s BRIDGESTONE halftime show.
In the first half of the game, I kept track of ads, and according to my tally — and in accordance with my predictions — dogs were theme No. 1 in this year’s Big Game commercials, topping that perennial favorite, sex.
By halftime, we’d seen the controversial SKECHERS greyhound racing ad — mildly funny, at best — VOLKSWAGEN’S “Bark Side” and a DORITO ad featuring a Great Dane (above) who gives his owner some chips to buy his silence regarding the family cat’s mysterious disappearance.
Dogs played smaller supporting roles in two other ads by then, so at halftime I had it scored this way:
Dogs five, Sex three.
While sex seemed to be gaining in the second half, it scored only three times in the first, with GO DADDY’S body painting bit, David Beckham promoting either underpants or himself (I’m still not sure), and an ad featuring model Adriana Lima for the flower delivery outfit, TELEFLORA. Lima, once she is dressed, explains to us that, on Valentine’s Day, and perhaps all other days, men must give to “receive.”
Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.
To me, that one was far more offensive than the Skechers ad, which an anti-greyhound racing group was protesting because it was filmed at a greyhound park with a poor safety record, and because they thought it would glorify a sport it finds cruel to animals.
In it, Mr. Quiggly, a French bulldog wearing athetic shoes, bests a group of greyhounds at a racetrack, winning by such a large margin that he pauses and then moonwalks backwards across the finish line — sort of like the Giants final touchdown, that touchdown they didn’t really want.
Still, scoring is everything, as the Teleflora ad tells us: Spend money on a female, perhaps in the form of a nice bouquet, and you will get you some.
Running just behind dogs and sex was the theme of death, destruction and other matters apocalyptic, including ads for several doomsday movies and one for cars that, along with their owners, survived the end of the world.
In fourth place were cute babies. Both DORITO and ETRADE ran baby ads in the first half — the latter featuring the now famous market-savvy talking baby, the former featuring a baby fired from a sling to grab a bag of chips.
DORITOS — though its dog-related ads often have a bit of a mean streak (like last year’s of a taunted pug smashing through a door) — scored with a second dog ad in the second half, depicting a dog park where humans perform tricks and line up for a salty treat.
Our pick of the litter? Weego, the rescued mutt who, whenever he is called – “Here, Weego!” — responds by fetching a BUD LIGHT for the caller. That’s not exactly new ground in beer advertising, but this time, the star was a rescued mutt, a scrawny little dog who oozed far more personality than any of the personalities in the Super Bowl ads, like Mark Cuban, Donald Trump and Clint Eastwood. Better yet, the ad included a pitch for rescuing dogs — and referred viewers to a Facebook page where they could learn more.
Also making a strong showing were “inspirational” ads from GE, celebrating the American worker, and at least two beer ads that seemed to be celebrating the end of prohibition, nearly 80 years ago.
The most powerful, and curious, advertisement shown during the Super Bowl was Clint Eastwood’s pitch for CHRYSLER (or was it for America?). The ad shows dismal-looking footage of Detroit as Eastwood tells us, “It’s halftime in America.” Then he goes on to talk about the resilience of Americans — how, via our bootstraps and given our inner strength, we can pick ourselves up and overcome anything.
It was a moody, somber but hopeful, piece — and maybe a tad ironic given the government bailout Chrysler received decades ago.
It was not an ad I wanted to hoist a celebratory drink to — after all, if it were truly halftime in America, that would mean we’d only have 235 years left – but it was definitely one that made me want to drink.
(For all our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2012, adriana lima, ads, advertisements, advertising, america, apocalypse, babies, bark side, bolt, bud light, budweiser, chrysler, clint eastwood, commercials, david beckham, dog park, dogs, dogs in advertising, donald trump, doomsday, doritos, etrade, french bulldog, giants, go daddy, great dane, greyhound racing, greyhounds, half time, halftime, here weego, mark cuban, mr quiggly, mutt, patriots, personalities, sex, skechers, super bowl, telefora, themes, volkswagen, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
•Skechers Vice President of Media Gary Martin at email@example.com
•Mark Cuban at firstname.lastname@example.org (Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is briefly featured in the ad.)
•NBC at email@example.com.
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
In the virtual world, you can, with a few well-placed clicks, pick your house, your car, your clothes, your physique, hair style and persona.
You can go out for a night on the town, in the setting of your choice, looking for love, or a fight, or any of thousands of other adventures — all of which are under your control.
Or you can spend a quiet evening at virtual home with your virtual pet — like a Panda-chow, or a tiger-husky, whose behavior, traits, appearance and even species combination are all changeable at your whim.
The video above is a preview for Sims 3 Pets, hitting the market today.
At the risk of sounding like an old man (one can’t criticize video games or apps without sounding like an old man), at the risk of being told by countless commenters that it’s only a game (yes, I realize that), I find it bothersome (and I don’t just mean that annoying narration).
In a way, I find what Sims 3 Pets does with dogs and cats nearly as troubling as that dogfighting app that led to so much controversy.
It’s a reflection of the same wrongheaded (in my view) mindset that we can do whatever we want to with dogs as long as it (A) entertains us, (B) makes money, (C) makes our lives easier, or (D) is done in the name of science.
It’s that mindset that leads to dogs as fashion accessories, dogs being abandoned when fads change, cruel laboratory experiments, greyhound racing, dogfighting, puppy mills, over breeding and, yes, cloning.
It’s thinking that dogs and all animals exist to serve our whims — however fleeting, selfish or bizarre those whims may be.
“Lighten up dude, it’s just a video game,” you might say. “It’s just a fantasy.”
And you’d have a point.
But (A) experimenting with and exploiting dogs doesn’t just happen in video games; and (B) Sims is not really the target of my tirade, for the game is just the latest rendition of a recurring theme in our society.
Of course, if it weren’t for man’s self-serving tinkering, we wouldn’t have dogs at all. It was man that shaped the wolf into all the diverse shapes and sizes we have now — and I’m not for doing away with any of them.
But somewhere — at least in real life, if not in video games — all the tinkering needs to stop.
We don’t need tiger-retrievers, or panda-chows — whether it’s the result of creative hair-styling and dye jobs, or inter-species experiments, or cell manipulation.
We don’t need robot dogs, or gladiator dogs, or fluorescent dogs, or dogs so inbred that they are unhealthy caricatures of themselves, or dogs created in a laboratory from the harvested cells of a deceased pet.
We don’t need to reinvent the dog, redesign the dog, ressurect the dog or even fine tune the dog. It’s fine as it is, and much of man’s meddling — whether it’s to make dogs more predictable, produce look-alike, act-alike cookie cutter versions of them, or invent new versions that are low-drool or non-allergenic — is an insult to that.
It’s even more of an arrogant pursuit when you stop and consider that the species that probably needs the most work is us. Maybe it’s our inability to control what happens among our fellow humans that makes us so prone to inflicting control over dogs, nature, or whatever else we can.
Here is something I said before, somewhere: If there is even a remote chance of controlling something, humans wanted to control it, preferably remotely.
In Sims 3 Pets, players can create and control over a hundred different kinds of cats and dogs, and can breed and share them with friends providing endless possibilities to create “new and exciting” breeds.
One can customize the pet’s coat, shape, pattern, color; the size of its ears, tail, snout, eyes, and more. You can also choose their behavior pattern, traits and control their bodily functions.
Dogs can even get jobs and make money.
And most creepy of all, pets can be shaped via virtual interspecies breeding, resulting in skunk-cats and panda-chows.
(If you think mixing species, fluorescent dogs and cloning are too far fetched to ever happen, I’d refer you to my book, DOG, INC.: the Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend. They all already have.
It would be too much to ask, given that pesky First Amendment and all, that gamemakers refrain from virtual interspecies breeding.
But wouldn’t it be nice if we could somehow limit all forms of novelty dogs — and other bad human concepts like war — to the confines of computerized games?
Unfortunately, that seems out of our control.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, breeding, breeds, cloned, cloning, control, creating, design, designer, dog, dog inc., dogfighting, dogs, domain, experiments, fluorescent, game, greyhound racing, interspecies, laboratory, manipulation, mindset, nature, novelty, over breeding, panda-chow, pets, robot, SIMS, SIMS Pets, SIMS Pets 3, simulation, tiger-husky, tinkering, video game, virtual, whims
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
In addition to helping pick the next president, Massachusetts voters tomorrow will be deciding the future of greyhound racing in the state.
Voters will weigh in on a hotly debated ballot measure that, if approved, would make Massachusetts the eighth state to ban live greyhound racing. (Idaho, Maine, North Carolina, Nevada, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington are the others.)
The Boston Globe reported Saturday, in a story that oozed objectivity, that conditions in which greyhounds live — a key factor in the argument to ban the sport — are, well, in the eye of the beholder …
“To one eye, the dogs look cheerful and comfortable. To another, the place might seem like a warehouse. One greyhound appears to stoop his head to fit in the cage; the others seem to have plenty of room to spare.
“The kennel’s owners welcomed a reporter, but no photographer, fearing how the cages might appear in pictures…”
I’m guessing that the cages might appear as they actually are — cameras being devices that record reality and all.
Supporters of the ban say greyhounds spent at least 20 hours a day in their cages.
The Globe article points out that “Like every assertion made in the debate over the ballot question, that contention is feverishly disputed by the other side. Trainers say their dogs get plenty of time outside, though they do have a hard time putting a number to it.”
Backers of the ballot measure believe greyhound racing constitutes animal abuse because of the industry’s excessive breeding practices, the cruel methods by which unwanted dogs are destroyed, the conditions in which many are forced to live and the number of injuries racing leads to.
The Humane Society of the United States believes no amount of reform could make the industry acceptable.
“The racing industry is inherently cruel. Greyhound racing is a form of gaming in which the amount of money a dog generates determines his or her expendability,” it says. “The answer for greyhounds is neither regulation nor adoption of “retired” dogs, but the elimination of the greyhound racing industry.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 3rd, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ban, cages, care, conditions, election, greyhound, greyhound racing, greyhounds, kennels, laws, massachusetts, news, racing, referendum, states, treatment, vote, voters