Radio Survivor readers may remember the uproar over a McDonald’s radio advertisement that many Pit Bull lovers found offensive. The radio spot aired on February 3. “Trying a brand new menu item at McDonald’s isn’t risky,” it began. “You know what’s risky? Petting a stray Pit Bull. Or shaving your head just to see how it would look. That’s risky.”
That comment rubbed a whole lot of people the wrong way. Pretty soon a “Pit Bulls Against McDonald’s” Facebook group with over 12,000 likers was going strong. The alliance encouraged consumers to boycott the company until the fast food giant aired a commercial “that shows the American Pit Bull Terrier in a positive light.”
McDonald’s did apologize for the transgression. Twice, actually: once in a recorded message; another via Twitter. But the “positive light” thing never happened, at least not to PBAM’s satisfaction.
Still, the group seems to have adopted a larger purpose. Now its name is Pit Bulls Against Misinformation. I checked in with the organizers the other day to see how things are going:
“We are still actively boycotting McDonald’s but we have expanded our mission as well,” came the reply. “We’ve been doing it for a while now but only recently changed the name. There is a great event coming up in Santa Rosa on July 14th, it’s the launch of a new dog registry that mixed breed/rescued dogs can participate in too and is through www.facebook.com/apdrdogs.”
PBAM offers counsel to its members on how to take care of your Pitty if you are moving, handling discrimination against the animals even if they’re certified therapy dogs, and keeping Pit Bulls safe during holidays like the 4th of July.
I’m not terribly optimistic about the boycott. I’m traveling through Hong Kong and Tokyo, and it amazes me how many McDonald’s stores there are in these cities (see my photo below), and how much they’ve integrated themselves into daily life. But it’s great to see these now 14,300 PBAM members come together to help themselves and their dogs. To think it all happened because of a broadcast ad . . . the power of radio!