Goodbye Good Boy…

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingAmidst news of firefighters killed by a vicious wildfire or the arbitrary brutality of plane crashes, it’s hard to call the loss of a dog a tragedy. In our case, we shouldn’t.

Yes it hurts the family as tangibly as a kick to the stomach but that’s because a dog like our Jack was anything but a tragedy; he was a family adventure, a comedy, a silly sideshow of joy. Jack was a jovial companion, content and ever affable. And that’s why his silent absence resonates.

We found Jack at an Alaskan Malamute rescue group in Joliet, Illinois. He shared nearly ten of his unusually long twelve year plus lifespan with us, a constant fixture in our family life. His large, wolf-like appearance belied an incredible gentleness. He could be a bit of a baby, encouraging you to stay and continue petting him by standing on your feet. He howled at fire truck sirens and wailed when the vet performed the most routine blood draws. In truth, he was anything but the paragon of health, requiring surgery for his lungs and all sorts of anti-seizure medications and trips to the emergency vet. No less than three times, we were certain we would have to say our goodbyes.

Sadly, today we had to. And our furry, snow-loving, ever patient boy is gone from our home though he’ll never completely leave our hearts.

Good boy Jack. Goodbye my good boy.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

It’s Groundhog’s Day and PETA is Pissed. Again.

I love animals.  Specifically, I love Jack, our 135 lb. Malamute who’s literally dozing at my feet as I type this.  I don’t believe in animal cruelty; clubbing baby seals is unimaginably horrific and even pulling a hook from a walleye’s mouth gives me the willies.  But seriously, PETA?  You guys need to dial it back a notch.  Or ten.

I Love Animals, Exhibit J

In a move that comes as no surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with their headline grabbing tactics, this decidedly-excitable group has petitioned the good people of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to replace their world-famous groundhog with an animatronic. Seriously.

This is the same group that took issue with President Obama for swatting a nettlesome fly during a television interview.  The same wingnuts that bought outdoor boards in Florida featuring an obese woman with the headline: “Save The Whales-Lose The Blubber: Go Vegetarian.”  And the same whack jobs that urged Ben and Jerry’s to switch from using cow’s milk to human milk (Say it with me: ewww…)

I will admit that their tactics do earn them coverage; I’m not a fan but I’m writing about them so clearly they are being heard.

But in their madcap pursuit of headlines, they lost their story.  PETA has devolved into a bad joke, an embarrassment to many of us once-sympathetic to their issues.  Serious topics like the dangers of beef injected with growth hormones, the needless factory farming of whales, and the horrors of leg hold trapping by the fur industry pale before headline chasing stunts like asking Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to convert a bankrupt poultry plant into a ‘Chicken Empathy Museum.’

It’s just one stunt after another.  And so PETA has lost it’s story.  For any brand, that’s a very bad thing.

As to the events in PA, here’s hoping ol’ Phil won’t see his shadow this year.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

Getting Hit By A Skunk

Picture 5I let our dog out into the backyard last night and twenty minutes later, the unmistakable smell of skunk barged in through the windows and doors and seemingly the walls themselves.  If you’ve never smelled a skunk, it can only be described as a three dimensional odor of hammering disgust: intense, intolerable and inescapable.  The large-hearted among us may be inclined to excuse the skunk since its low status on the food chain bestows such a nauseating means of self-defense, but no one with even modest olfactory capabilities can–the stink is just too strong.  And so I spent three hours staining Jack’s bounteous ruff with tomato juice, trying to cut the stench from horrific to merely awful.  In the end, Jack still had to spend the night outside, his hangdog expression clearly communicating that this excretion offended even his adventurous nose.

When you get hit by a skunk, you have to act immediately to clean up and then…wait. There’s not a lot you can do other than try to address the issue as best you can and then…endure.  More than anything else, time diminishes the odor.

Dominos got hit by a skunk a few weeks back in the form of two bonehead employees with a video camera.  Their CEO went on YouTube reasonably quickly, showed his disgust and disdain, and then…waited.  And despite how those disgusting images sear into the synapses, time helps the image fade, particularly once you realize this was a rogue act of a skunk.  Our home state got hit by a skunk in the form of Rod “Pay to Play” Blagojevich.  Actually, Illinois has a history of living in a cloud of stench from skunks that go by the title of ‘governor’ or ‘senator.’  Someone like Michael Vick didn’t get hit by a skunk, he was the skunk for the Atlanta Falcons, and they too had to scramble to determine a response that would be strong enough, before stepping back and waiting it out.

When brands are opinions and opinions enjoy the mass distribution channels of social networks, the once separate worlds of advertising and public relations. must converge.  And nothing makes that more obvious than those unfortunate moments when you’re sprayed by a skunk.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

No Post Today–It’s My Birthday

Jack Loves Birthdays      

Jack Loves Birthdays

In this age of Facebook, that means I am fortunate to have a ton of nice notes and well wishes to answer.  And no, I don’t do that mass reply ‘status update’ thing; that seems unsportsmanlike for someone who calls himself a writer.  Each note deserves a personalized reply, preferably with its own individual witticism…or attempt at witticism.

Anyway, I’ll go learn something really cool tomorrow and post then.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79