Home > Animal Rescue, Pet Adoption, Pet News, Pet Videos > Pitbulls, McDonald’s and the BADRAP Video Response

Pitbulls, McDonald’s and the BADRAP Video Response


Last week, two organizations experienced a public flogging after making business decisions that brought their brands under scrutiny. One (Susan G. Kommen) seemed to be in the headlines constantly (and still are) while the other, McDonald’s, slipped under the radar a bit. I think this is in part due to the fact that McDonald’s recognized their marketing mistake quickly and immediately pulled the ad and apologized.

The radio ad, which promotes McDonald’s new Chicken McBites product, compares risky behavior to “petting a stray pitbull” (as opposed to eating a Chiken McBite). BADRAP was one of the first groups to bring attention to this ad and the message it conveyed.

If you’ve never heard of BADRAP before, it’s a rescue organization that has done much to bring attention to the bad rap pitbulls get. They also help to rehabilitate those that have been used, abused and mistreated. They were there when Michael Vick’s pitbulls were facing a death sentence and they changed how we look at rehabilitating fighting dogs forever.

BADRAP asked dog owners to send in pictures of their stray pitbulls (via Facebook and email) and they would incorporate them into a video message to McDonald’s. I saw it soon after it was posted last night I knew I just had to share it.

It might seem strange to say that I love this video, but I do. I love it for many reasons – the message it conveys, the humor sometimes shared in the messages, the diversity of the dog owners, and the beauty of the love involved in creating it. I love the fact that a video that was designed to do one thing, send a message to McDonald’s, ends up doing another. In this case, showing pitbulls as the cherished family pets they truly are – as seen through the eyes of their loving family members – moms, dads, kids, and canine (and feline) brothers and sisters.

If anyone has any doubt that pitbulls are wonderful pets, then just watch this video and see it for yourself.

America’s Bark Off to McDonald’s from BADRAP.org on Vimeo.

You can read more about what BADRAP does through their blogs – Bad Rap Blog and The Barn Dog Blog

  1. Jen
    February 6, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    I hadn’t seen the video….awesome! It was really neat to see both the diversity of the owners and also the diversity of appearance in dogs that might be referred to as “pit bulls”.

    2012….where those who didn’t know start to realize the power of the Internet.

    • Mel
      February 6, 2012 at 7:01 AM

      I like that Jen – ‘both the diversity of the owners and also the diversity of appearance in dogs that might be referred to as “pit bulls”’ I would agree. There is a huge diversity. It’s funny you mentioned the whole power of the internet. I actually had a section on the power of social media and called out the differences between McDonald’s (a company who gets it) and Susan G. Komen (an organization that does not), but took it out. McDonald’s recognized their error relatively quickly and immediately took action to remove the ad and to apologize – which is why I think they got less flack than the Susan G. Komen organization. Komen reacted way too slowly. When they realized the tide was tuning on them they should have taken action. Instead, they did what many companies who are not social media savvy do, they waited, and possibly did irreparable harm to their brand.
      It’s a new world and the companies that get it will fair better than the ones that don’t.

  2. February 6, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    I have mixed feelings about BADRAP. The McDonald’s video aired on Friday and look how quickly they composed a response. It was a stupid radio commercial that nobody would have given a second thought about if a few people didn’t raise a huge stink. It’s really easy to rally behind silly issues that are essentially harmless. Did they EVER have a serious discussion about the Darla Napora incident? Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt…..

    • Petunia and Fletch's Mom
      February 6, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      I rescued an AmStaff last year and I never heard about Darla until your comment. I researched it and it indeed was a sad situation. You need to keep in mind, the public (us) never got all the details. We have no idea where those dogs came from, how long they had been in the family and who was their primary caregiver – Darla or Greg? I am not making excuses, I’m just not going to pass judgement without all the facts. Here is some interesting data published in an editorial sparked by the incident in San Mateo County’s “The Daily Journal”. It is quite interesting. And in case you are wondering, I would NEVER leave my rescue alone with a child or a stranger. It’s not fair to the animal OR the human.

      “First, serious incidents involving dogs have always been exceedingly rare, though they generate news coverage that creates an impression they are more prevalent than they actually are. There are roughly 78 million dogs in the United States, and 308 million human beings. Annually, there is one dog bite-related fatality for every 10 million human beings, and every 2.5 million dogs. Second, official reports may shed some light on the unique calculus of an incident; but they are never a basis for generalizations about all dogs, or even one kind of dog. To illustrate, consider the following. The week before Ms. Napora died, a pregnant woman in Milwaukee, Sharon Staples, was shot to death in the street, in the presence of her 13-year-old son. Police arrested three teenaged boys in connection with her death. There are over 20 million teenagers in the United States. What will the investigation into the death of Sharon Staples tell us about teenagers? Reports concerning the death of Darla Napora cannot be used to generalize about any of the other 78 million dogs.”

    • February 6, 2012 at 5:32 PM

      I’m not going to argue about stats & I’m not Pitbull prejudiced. My family has owned two of them & they were pretty nice dogs. Since BADRAP is the leading voice in the Pitbull community, you think that they would have crafted a better response than this http://badrap-blog.blogspot.com/2011/08/reflections-on-case-in-pacifica-ca.html to a very serious situation. Comparing a dog killing it’s owner to a pregnant woman being gunned down in the street by a random pack of teenagers. How wonderfully inappropriate.

      • Christine
        February 7, 2012 at 10:59 AM

        To be fair, BADRAP’s message from the blog was that pets are animals first, and we shouldn’t forget that. Saying that they compared Darla’s death to being gunned down in the street is simplifying the message they quoted from NCRC, and taking it out of context. The comparison shows that taking a tragic incident and attempting to make generalizations about it can be wholly inaccurate and misleading. BADRAP’s response didn’t give us specific answers regarding “why,” but, without knowing more, it wouldn’t have been responsible to do so.

  3. Jan
    February 6, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    I have defended Pit Bulls many times on my blog. But Pit Bulls and other dogs should be supervised when they are around small children. I hope this video doesn’t give the impression that Pit Bulls are teddy bears. Dogs are dogs. Dogs are not always predictable.

    • February 7, 2012 at 4:32 PM

      Jan,
      I completely agree that dogs are dogs and should not be portrayed as teddy bears with children, REGARDLESS of breed. All dogs should be supervised around children. Dogs with high prey drives (like pits) should also be supervised around other dogs, especially small ones. Thanks for bringing the reality back in this emotional situation.

  4. February 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    This video is very sweet. I never heard the ad in question and also somehow missed the whole controversy over the last few days, but I think projects like this are important. Lately I have been on a kick about raising awareness of the value of animals and this fits right in. The more people see pitbulls and hounds and chihuahuas etc as family members and creatures of worth, hopefully the more the welfare of all animals will improve.

  5. Petunia and Fletch's Mom
    February 6, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Awesome! I had not heard anything about this and I wish I had. I would have sent in a photo of Fletch with his new big sister. Thanks Mel!

  6. February 6, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    First to answer one of Karen’s thoughts – I would imagine Bad Rap has a ton of supporters and activists to whom they have adopted that they can call on in a minute to take a picture and send it to them so they can made a video.

    I agree – it was a stupid radio commercial. And if we don’t stop stupid radio commercials, stupid dialogue in TV shows and scripts and stupidly inaccurate journalism branding pit bulls as vicious or biters, we will never be able to reverse how the public sees these dogs. They are JUST DOGS! As such, they are a separate species, people should never leave their kids alone with any dog – dogs are not babysitters.

    Thanks for the video, Mel!

  7. February 6, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    It’s actually amazing to me that a PR firm would release such a stupid commercial – what were they thinking? It’s nice to see so many people come together to let a company know when they’ve gone too far, and I’m glad McDonalds pulled the commercial and apologized. Perpetuating this inaccurate image of pit bulls is unacceptable – good for BADRAP for showing the pitties in a different light.

  8. February 6, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    The video is adorable, but I’m thinking McDonald’s has gotten way more press from this than they deserve. I don’t eat at McDonald’s because their food is bad for me anyway, and they seem to thrive on making people eat poorly. Have you ever noticed that when they have their Monopoly game that you can’t get a game piece for drinking water or eating a salad? You have to eat the giant sized fries, drink a gallon of soda and cram a heart clogging Big Mac down your gullet to have a shot at winning. I lost respect for them long ago for much bigger reasons, I guess. I just don’t pay attention to them anymore.

  9. donna buckner
    February 11, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    here is a video i made titled Mc Donalds meet the stray pitbull that saved his unit in ww1..this link will take you to youtube to see my video http://youtu.be/Ho0g0fxVx0Q

  10. February 12, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    I missed the news about McDonald’s ad. That’s one of the benefits of being so busy taking care of two rescued pitties! Wish I’d known about the video so I could’ve participated. But it’s awesome to see it here. It made me laugh and cry, just as many of the pit bull stories do.

    I found your blog through Sonia’s Leaves of Grass. So glad I did.

    • Mel
      February 12, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      Thanks for stopping by Susan. My thanks to Sonia over at Leaves of Grass too!
      I loved the video too. It’s a good example of how many people own pibbles. Even though some confused the issue as some kind of political correctness issue, I really believe that it’s about changing an image that many people have of pibbles and why many of us get so upset when a company perpetuates much of the disinformation that is out there.

  11. February 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    i think there might be something wrong with me, because that video just made me really happy that so many people rescued so many dogs–and then made me really sad to think about how many dogs are still out there, pitties or not, that need rescuing. my brain skipped over the entire controversy point. le sigh…

    • Mel
      February 16, 2012 at 10:02 PM

      I know exactly what you mean. I felt much the same way. That’s why I had to share it. It’s beautiful to see so any happy people with their dogs like this isn’t it?

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