In the early Tom Hanks comedy "Nothing in Common" (1986), Hanks' youthful advertising executive rips into his creative team for an ad featuring a grandmother flying across country to see her grandchildren. Before leaving home, she's seen sitting at home with her cat.
"That's a real good idea!" Hanks erupts. "Let's do a commercial about a sweet old grandma who abandons her cat in a freezing cold house so she can go off and romp with the grandkids!"
That scene comes back to me every time I see the new Budweiser commercial featuring a twentysomething with his dog. The ad, in heavy rotation--if you've watched football or the baseball playoffs recently, you've seen it a zillion times--shows the guy going off to romp with his pals, six-pack in hand, leaving the dog behind at home.
Then--here's the thing--he doesn't come home all night. There's no evidence he left the dog food or water. The dog is shown lying around bored, whimpering in loneliness.
The next morning the guy finally shows up at home, with a lame excuse for the dog about how he didn't want to drive drunk so he "stayed at Dave's." The message is that he was responsible enough not to drink and drive, and it's better that he get home late than never.
The ad has supposedly gone viral. The Web is teeming with testimonials from people who claim it made them cry with its sappiness.
I can only conclude that they must be either softheaded or on Budweiser's payroll. As a dog owner, I have these reactions:
- What kind of irresponsible moron is this?
- Are you trying to tell me that he's never heard of a taxicab? Or Lyft, or Uber?
- If he can't manage to stagger home before dawn, what business did he have getting a dog in the first place?
If I were the dog, I wouldn't be welcoming him home with grateful licks. I'd leave him a more telling sign of my opinion. And he'd need a new carpet.