Who knew that an advertisement where a dog has a fatal heart attack because its overzealous jogger-owner pulls it too hard could be a bad idea?
The answer is clearly not Japanese shoemaker Pearl Izumi, who earned the collective derision of animal lovers and communications experts after releasing the controversial campaign this week.
The print ad, which featured a runner performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a fallen yellow Labrador, came under fire after appearing in Canadian Running Magazine and on the Facebook page of Pearl Izumi, who makes high-end running and cycling shoes.
Many people, however, were unimpressed the concept that Pearl Izumi’s sneakers are "so fast they will kill your dog."
“These types of images will inherently be upsetting to people,” Mike Johansson, communications lecturer and social media consultant, told NBC News.
Jogging is generally regarded as good for canines, but pooches can overexert themselves and their hearts in a manner similar to humans. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that dogs under 18 months avoid sustained jogging and points out that breeds with short or flat noses can have trouble breathing when exercised vigorously.
“Our approach was humorous, and some people didn’t see it that way,” Geoff Shaffer, global marketing director at Pearl Izumi, told NBC News.
The company issued an apology and later pulled the print ad, along with its accompanying video off of YouTube, although the dead-dog-free portions of the Project eMotion campaign will remain. Pearl Izumi also made a $10,000 donation to the Humane Society in Boulder Valley, Colo., near where the U.S. branch of the company is based.