|courtesy google images|
The omnipresent fast food chain, McDonalds, in an advertisement designed to introduce a new menu item, the chicken McBite, claimed "Trying a new menu item at McDonald's isn't risky. You know what's risky? Petting a stray pit bull".
To those who understand that not all pit bulls are dangerous, though some pit bull owners are, the ad seemed like a cheap shot against an already disparaged and beleaguered breed of dog. These dogs are banned, euthanized, disallowed under home insurance policies, and automatically assumed to be vicious, just because they appear to be pit bulls. In two instances, pit bulls working as service dogs were prohibited from performing their functions in what is currently being litigated as a violation of the American with Disabilities Act. McDonalds in playing to their “unsafetiness” perpetuates a stereotype and reinforced the seeming unsuitability of every pit bull dog as a possible family pet.
McDonalds also crowed that it is less risky to try the chicken dish than "naming your son Sue", again suggesting acceptance of the routine tormenting and bullying of boys with any effeminate trait! At a time when we are trying to teach open mindedness and tolerance these ads just ring flat.
Ironically, it was also reported that a carcinogen known as tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) is used in another McDonalds ‘chicken treat called the McNugget, ostensibly to preserve freshness. Unlike pit bulls who can be nurtured to be loving and loyal pets, and children who can be educated not to taunt those perceived as different - carcinogens can’t be taught to be safe!
A corporation with the financial resources of McDonalds, that is able to fund slick “ad men” and purchase expensive air time might think about using their resources to eliminate carcinogens from their food and donating to organizations that teach responsible pet stewardship and respect for diversity.
McDonalds did apologize and did halt the pit bull advertising spot. But they need to put their mcmoney where there mcmouth is.