Super Bowl ad cruel?

Humane society wants 7-Up to pull Super Bowl ad, company refuses

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Humane Society of the United States, the country’s largest animal protection organization, wants Dr. Pepper/7-Up to pull one of its commercials from the Super Bowl lineup because it feels the ad spoofs animal cruelty.

But Dr. Pepper/7-Up, a division of Cadbury Schweppes Plc, has no intention of pulling the spot, which is set to premiere during a CBS pre-game show ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl XXXV, in which the New York Giants will battle the Baltimore Ravens.

In the commercial, which was created by Young & Rubicam, a dog appears to be struck by a can of 7-Up. Young & Rubicam is part of British advertising and media giant WPP Group Plc.

“The American Humane Society was on the set when the commercial was being filmed,” said Philippa Dworkin, vice president of corporate communications for Dr. Pepper/7-Up.

According to Dworkin, the commercial was shot using a filming technique that makes it look like the can hits a dog, but that no animal was injured during the filming.

Dworkin said the commercial is set to be launched during a show ahead of the big game on Jan. 28 and that the company has “a multitude of ads” set to appear during the evening, including one for Diet Dr. Pepper and different 7-Up spots.

While the Humane Society argued that the dog appears to be killed by the can of lemon lime soda, Dr. Pepper/7-Up said the dog’s tail is still wagging after the animal is hit by the can.

According to the Humane Society, CBS had already requested changes to the commercial that they felt would solve perception problems on the part of viewers. CBS is a unit of Viacom Inc. (VIA: Research, Estimates).

The changes included adding a line which alerts viewers that the animal is a stunt dog and tells them not to try such a stunt on their own pet.

The Humane Society said it feels the ad tells viewers that it is acceptable or amusing to cause an animal harm.

The group is also concerned that some viewers may be especially vulnerable to the idea that it is okay to harm an animal. According to the Humane Society, animal abusers are often young males, a key audience for the Super Bowl.