Last night, my husband was watching television as I sat at my computer uploading photos to cat profiles. I glanced over at the television momentarily – one of those moments that I can only imagine I will refer to later as ‘defining.’
What I saw was an advertisement, in which a father and son go into a pet store and buy pet supplies, along with…………………………………………………………………A PUPPY!!!
Animal welfare organizations fight every day to bring awareness to the concerns surrounding the sale of pets in pet stores. There are numerous campaigns running to have such sales banned. I could not believe what I was watching, and as a viewer, I felt compelled to contact the organization responsible for the offensive advertisement and make a stand for the cause.
Frantically I typed my message; disbelief, outrage, frustration, and ultimately sadness formed words that rallied together into sentences, and formed an army of paragraphs on the screen before me. Then I stepped back, took a deep breath, repeated the idiom ‘you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar’ over and over in my head before erasing the entire message and starting over. I don’t know why I think of that saying – I’m not a fan of flies!
This was the version I sent;
To whom it concerns,
I just watched your television commercial where a man and his children go into a pet store and buy a puppy. I’m sure you will find, after doing some research that the majority of puppies purchased from pet stores come from puppy mills. Your commercial that was meant to make people smile makes me extremely sad. Animal welfare advocates like myself, have been working very hard to educate people and fight tirelessly to ban the sale of pets in pet stores, and have all puppy mills shut down. Your commercial is a step backward.
If you want to win thousands of customers, my humble opinion, is that you should acknowledge this huge faux-paw, and admit your ignorance. Here is an opportunity to educate even more people and do some good for the cause. Northwest Savings Bank would be thought highly of, if you were to donate money, by way of apology, to rescue efforts – the organizations that provide medical care and rehabilitation to the parents of the cute little puppies, shipped, like livestock, to the pet stores that still, in fact, sell dogs.
I have been thinking of how it may be possible to introduce the cause into mainstream media – perhaps you have opened the door. I truly hope you will consider this request and help me make a difference. I’ve also included some educational resources for your review – they are not easy to watch, but this is the reason my peers and I fight.
Thank you for reading this message. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this further.
The response received from Northwest Savings Bank;
Thank you for reaching out to us.
We produced five different television commercials to help support our new MyNorthwest checking campaign. In each spot, we depict a mix of family members, in real-life scenarios, using various Northwest convenience channels, such as online banking and bill pay, mobile banking, depository ATMs and/or our VISA check card, to convey how Northwest can provide customers with better access to their accounts and how our financial products and services can potentially streamline or simplify a customer’s life. For example, in the specific commercial you referenced, we highlight mobile banking and the ability to transfer funds in real-time between various Northwest accounts.
Our company takes great pride in our employees, customers, shareholders and communities we serve. The content of our advertising is never intended to offend any person or group. We recognize that everyone is entitled to their opinions and views and appreciate your feedback.
The last word (to date), from me;
Good morning (Name withheld),
While I’m disappointed, you don’t see the negativity your advertisement is likely to cause, I would like to thank you for your prompt reply.
To be honest, I would not have known what the advertisement was promoting – I was too shocked by the content. I did remember the name of your organization, though not in a positive way.
As a member of various animal-welfare groups, I feel obliged to share with others your stance on this matter.
There is such irony in the Northwest Savings Bank slogan ‘Where people make the difference,’ don’t you agree? The term Corporate Social Responsibility refers to a company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. The reason companies spend billions of dollars on advertising each year, is because it works! We, the consumers are influenced by media. In my opinion, Northwest Savings Bank should have used some of that money and further researched the impact of this message.
One day, in the not too distant future, people will commit time and careful consideration into making the decision to adopt a pet. The convenience of banking methods in a pet store won’t be their priority. You can take that to the bank!
Check back with this site later for details about why this fight is so important as well as information on what it means for puppy-mill and shelter animals.