Animal lovers and runners everywhere are wondering why the company Pearl Izumi, who sells running shoes, released an ad in a Canadian Running Magazine depicting a dead dog with his jogger owner.
The ad showed what appears to be a yellow lab collapsed on a rural path after failing to keep up with its dad. The man is leaning over the dog, hands clasped over the dog's chest, possibly in an effort to do CPR.
The ad was part of a campaign that included a video, but after the print version appeared, outraged dog lovers everywhere started blasting the company on its social media sites.
“These types of images will inherently be upsetting to people,” Mike Johansson, a social media strategy consultant and lecturer told NBC News. “When animals are perceived to be feeling pain, we as human beings can’t help but feel bad,” Johansson said.
So, what in the world was this company thinking?
A marketing manager told NBC the ad was meant to be “humorous.”
A lot of animal lovers didn’t see the humor and the company eventually pulled the marketing campaign and posted this response to its Facebook page:
“We would like to sincerely apologize to everyone for the ad that ran in Canadian Running Magazine.
As most of us here at Pearl Izumi are dog owners, we want you to know we would never, ever do anything to harm an animal.
Please know that we have deleted the ad and removed it from all future publications.
Many pointed out on social media that running with dogs can be dangerous, given the loyalty dogs feel, they try to keep up, even when they don’t feel well.
Some customers suggested the company donate to animal shelters or rescues as a form of an apology for the ad. At least one customer named Cindy posted, “Thank you for pulling the ad. Now you should write an article about the correct way to train your dog to run with you. They too have to build up their endurance. They will run just because you ask them to and will literally run themselves to death. It is so incredibly easy to overheat your dog. Please write an article with warnings. Thank you”
Learn More: Running and Staying Safe with Your Dog
However, a spokesperson for the company said they plan to do nothing further about the matter.
“Most of us in the office have dogs, we run with our dogs and we were surprised by the reaction,” Geoff Shaffer, global marketing director at Pearl Izumi said.
I really fail to see the humor – although the actual dog in the ad is fine – of depicting a dead dog in an ad.
Editor’s Note: Photo is of the actual ad.
What do you think of this marketing campaign, harmless humor or in poor taste?