Get it? Neither did I. And neither did most of the people who saw this joke in a running magazine.
Pearl Izumi, a popular outdoor training apparel company that specializes in outfitting trail runners, bikers, and triathlon-ers, doesn’t understand humor. Dead dogs to them, apparently, are delightful punchlines.
Marketing whizzes across the world are known for coming up with clever one-liners in juxtaposition with surprising images. In perfect harmony, the text and image together surprise viewers, make them think a bit, and then cause them chuckle at the creativity.
But the marketing team at Pearl Izumi didn’t do it right. And their insensitivity has created a PR nightmare.
In a recent ad that was featured in Canadian Running Magazine, a man is giving CPR to his dead dog. The joke, of course, is supposed to be that the man’s shoes helped him outlast his dog on the trail.
But since when was a runner’s dream to run until his dog died?
In an interview with NBC, Pearl Izumi’s marketing manager said the ad was intended to be humorous. The team who created the ad apologized on Facebook by defending themselves: “As most of us here at Pearl Izumi are dog owners, we want you to know we would never, ever do anything to harm an animal.”
Probably not. But they would laugh at the idea of someone’s dog dying on the trail because it couldn’t keep up with its owner.