Interrupting Gay Dog Who?

« July 2006 »

Memo to the Gill Foundation: YOU ARE DUMB. SORRY.

Idiots with pure motives are a tough case. They mean well. Dear sweet fuck, do they mean well. They're fighting the good fight. But they're fighting with Nerf guns and water balloons trying to break down thick stone walls.

You see, the Gill Foundation spent almost a million dollars to convince people in Colorado not to be so goddamned homophobic. And that's an admirable goal, and an impressive budget to accomplish it. Let's just say that the money, as they say, is not on the screen.

You see, the problem is, actually changing people's prejudices isn't easy. You've got to catch them when they're receptive. You've got to get them to examine their broken thought processes rationally. And at any moment, at any time, for no reason whatsoever, the window could pass, their mind could slam shut, and you've just wasted two hours at an otherwise decent party.

You are not going to change people's attitudes toward gay people with Norman, The Dog That Moos.

You see, there's a dog. Named Norman. And it goes "moo". Because it was born different. Just like gay people were born different. I am not shitting you, that's what $900,000 buys you in Colorado. A mooing dog.

Let's run down the problems with this. First and foremost, it treates bigoted simpletons as if they were regular run of the mill simpletons. If you were explaining it to an idiot without preconceived notions of icky homos, this might work. Or a five-year-old. That'd be great, too. Give Norman the Mooing Dog to the kindergartners. Not to adult assholes.

Second, and I don't have a decent picture of the main roadside ad to show you, but looking at it, here's what I see. Monochrome background: check. Silhouette of a dog. Check. Short, simple, enigmatic message ("Moo."), check. White lettering in a rounded, sans-serif font? Check.

People, people, people. There are advertising paradigms OTHER THAN APPLE'S. Ripping off iPod ads was trite when they did it for Ice Age 2, for fuck's sake. People aren't going to stop hating gays, they're going to go to Best Buy and look for a black and white iPod that only canines can hear.

Third, I don't know about you, but if a dog came up to me, opened its mouth, and "moo" came out, my first thought would not be, "Well, isn't that something? This dog must have been born different. What a strange and wonderful world we live in. In the interests of tolerance and diversity, I will scratch this mooing dog behind the ears and become his friend."

I would start looking for the ghost of Allen Funt and get the fuck away from the freakdog. Now, I'm not saying that after I'd calmed down and established that I wasn't part of the Jamie Kennedy Experiment, that I'd call for the dog to be put down as an abomination against God and nature. That would be wrong. I'm just saying that "Gays are just as normal as MOOING DOGS" isn't the most effective tool for combating hate.

But I will give the Gill Foundation this. As awful as their mooing dog campaign is, it still provoked an even more retarded response from James Dobson and Focus On The Family. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Sherman is the centerpiece of a multimedia "No Moo Lies" campaign to be launched Wednesday, July 19, which clearly explains the truth about what characteristics dogs -- and humans -- are really born with. The campaign, which will include print advertising and a Web site, will also expose the real motives behind the mooing-puppy spots that have appeared in Colorado Springs -- and equip Coloradans to guard against being misled by such clever marketing techniques."

You see what they did there? They countered Norman the Gay Mooing Dog, with Sherman, the straight woofing dog, to expose the real truth - maybe Norman was indoctrinated into mooing by a bovophilic camp counselor. Or some damn thing. That's how dumb Focus On The Family is - they think an iPod ripoff is a CLEVER MARKETING TECHNIQUE.

Which almost, but not quite, makes it $900,000 well-spent.