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Super Bowl Ads Review: Four Paws Down
Weego, the beer-retrieving rescue pup, from Bud Light's 2012 Super Bowl commercial.

Call me a cur-mudgeon, but I think that this year’s Super Bowl commercials featuring canines, well, went to the dogs. They were derivative at best, poorly conceived in the great midsection and downright cruel at their worst.  

The obvious winner was the “Here, We Go” spot for Bud Light, featuring a scruffy little Terrier mix “rescue dog.” He tirelessly fetches beer at a party—by the bottle, the six-pack and even the keg. There was a brief, nonspecific pitch to “Help Rescue Dogs” on a Styrofoam cooler at the end. Thanks for that, Buds, but beer-retrievers-as-men’s-best-friends have been done to death—by Goldens, Border Collies and others. Too bad that this was, by far, the best we got. 

VW weighed-in with a portly pup who is inspired to get in shape, alone, by the image of a passing sedan. When the dog later triumphs by fitting through a formerly too-narrow dog door, the payoff is that he gets to … chase the car??! As I watched him dash, pell-mell after the fleeing auto, I cringed at the prospect of the first cross street. 

What, do you suppose, is the one thing dogs do that gets them killed by cars, most often? The Fahrvergnügen folks need to usetheirnoggins. 

It gets worse. Skechers featured a Bulldog wearing its sneakers—to win a dog race? Granted that there’s some humor in a built-for-comfort breed acting against type, but dog racing is a pastime so inhumane that it’s banned in many states. At least they might’ve included a shoe box touting the good folks at greyhound rescue!

Nothing, however, even approaches the remarkably stupid Doritos dog spot. In it, a brindle Great Dane who has killed and buried the family cat buys his moronic owner’s silence with a bag of corn chips. The even bigger two-legged idiots were the company flacks who chose this ad from hundreds of entries in a contest. 

Was Michael Vick (his possible rehabilitation notwithstanding) unavailable to them?

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Tom Cushing works to place stray animals and lawyers into new situations where they may prosper. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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