I have nothing against dogs, but I did not appreciate the Doritos Super Bowl commercial titled “Man’s Best Friend.”
In the ad’s story line, a man witnesses his dog burying something with a collar. The man sees the same collar on a “Missing Cat” poster. The dog bribes him with a bag of Doritos to keep silent about what he saw. Then we see the man sitting in the house, sucking down the last of the contents of the Doritos bag, followed by a woman’s voice saying “Honey, have you seen our cat?” The man sees the dog holding another bag of Doritos and replies “Nope.” Although no cats were shown being harmed, the commercial clearly implied that the family dog killed and buried Fluffy, the family cat, and successfully bribed his heartless male owner to keep silent about it.
Perhaps it wouldn’t bother me so much if I hadn’t seen so many real-life “Missing Cat” posters, heard about actual stories of aggressive dogs killing cats, or known about so much cruelty toward cats that still exists in our society. After spending the past nine years of my life battling negative, unfair stereotypes about cats in popular culture, I find it extremely frustrating that an agency created this ad, Doritos signed off on it and a vast audience voted for it as a Super Bowl commercial favorite.
Besides sending a message that it’s OK for the family dog to kill the family cat, the commercial also perpetuates the sexist cliché that men prefer dogs, while only women like cats. From the mail we receive from our male readers, I know this is untrue.
I cringed when I saw the slingshot baby flying through the air in another Doritos commercial, but at least the baby appeared happy, wasn’t harmed and didn’t die in the fictitious storyline. Another difference for me was that the concept of building a giant slingshot to hurl a baby across a yard is so ridiculous, it made it easier for me to suspend belief. Cruelty toward lost cats is painfully too real.
Just to show I do have a sense of humor, though, I did chuckle at the Bud-Light commercial in which the dog called “Here We Go” fetched someone a beer every time he heard his name. Again, no humans or animals were harmed and the storyline was far-fetched enough for me to suspend belief and laugh. The plug to rescue dogs at the end of this commercial elevated Budweiser to a whole new level in my mind, too. I don’t drink beer, but if I did, I have a good reason to choose Bud-Light.
When it comes to commercials, I think it’s best to follow Coca-Cola’s always-classy, ever-positive example. Polar Bears watching the Super Bowl and enjoying a Coke? Now that’s a clever ad!
When it comes to depicting animals in commercials, I think Doritos and its advertising agency could learn something from Budweiser and Coca-Cola.