Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
The Giants played the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but I would have been more interested had it been Bears vs. Dolphins, Lions vs. Jaguars or Rams vs. Broncos. (What can I say? I’m partial to animal names.)
What Americans call “football” is fun, I’m sure, but I am not qualified to comment on Sunday’s game. I do, though, want to comment on some of the advertisements during Sunday’s TV broadcast. From an animal protectionist’s perspective, there was good, bad, ugly and … well, mixed bag.
The good: Budweiser’s bit about a rescued dog who fetches beers for partygoers combined goofy humor with a strongly stated message for consumers to support dog rescues. The beermaker went so far as to donate $1 to a rescue organization for each click on Wego's (the rescued-dog star) Facebook page.
The bad: Doritos made light of a big dog burying a cat, presumably after killing him, then bribing a witness to remain silent with two bags of chips. Dead cat, hah hah. But really the joke's on Doritos, as cats outnumber dogs in U.S. homes and "Real Men Love Cats." Then to make up for the "good" dog ads, Sketchers comes along and does a commercial about dogs forced to race around a track.
The ugly: Careerbuilders.com exploited chimpanzees by forcing them to perform lame comedy skits while dressed in human clothing. The whole chimps-as-props thing is as outdated and offensive, in my opinion, as humans performing in blackface.
The mixed bag: Hyundai’s ad about how a cheetah, released from his cage to race a car but instead chases his captor, implies that wildlife don’t appreciate being exploited. That’s good. I see http://www.awn.com/news/places/mpc-collaborates-cheetah-super-bowl-spot-hyundai that the cheetah images are “photorealistic.” That sounds promising, although the images were created by “photographing a real specimen on set.” Bad.
Yes, it’s all pretty frivolous stuff — the game, the ads, everything about Super Bowl weekend. But hundreds of millions of people were paying attention, and any messages about animals are bound to have some sort of impact. Let’s hope no harm was done.