Dogs make great running, hiking, and walking companions: they (usually) go wherever you want, keep up a good pace, alert you to nearby squirrels, and don’t try to engage in any pesky conversations. So it’s understandable that people who run with their dogs found an ad for Pearl Izumi shoes that ran in Canada offensive. It shows a man performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on his dog, and implies that this is a good thing.
The ad appeared on Media Bistro’s Ads of the World page, but has since been taken down. (You can see a cached version here.) The ad’s text, which may be hard to read in this photo of the magazine page, was reproduced on Ads of the World:
Project E:MOTION isn’t for the faint of heart.* That’s because our new midsole design forces your stride into fluid submission. This undeniable smoothness translates into less work for your legs, so you get into your zone faster and feel like you could stay there forever. Sure, not everyone will appreciate your increased efficiency, but, ironically, not everyone was born to run like an animal.
The ad got the attention of animal lovers, but the “Project E:MOTION” site even features an educational video on what to do if your dog does collapse on the road.
Educational videos: good. Framing it as an unfortunate but amusing downside of being able to run faster than your dog… not so much. If you’re really moving that fast, consider getting a jogging stroller or a skateboard for your pet. Or, you know, leave it home.
After a barrage of angry messages on their Facebook page, the company apologized and said that they won’t run the ad anymore.
The line between edgy, attention-getting humor and offensive humor is sometimes blurry and hard to figure out. We suggest to marketers, start by staying away from jokes about killing household pets.
Project eMotion [Official Site]