Saturday, September 19, 2009

Company promotes pit bull stereotype to sell products

Icon, a manufacturer of products for motorcycle riders has chosen to promote a new product line for Fall 2009 --- Represent, a (mostly) outerwear line featuring an image of a vicious pit bull.

Product descriptions of this line feature phrases such as:

"Firstly, it features a snarling possessed crop eared mauler of a canine. Not many people are stepping up to the dog plate given the current social climate. But if Icon is gonna come, than we're gonna come correct. If the graphics weren't enough, the supervents on the Represent can be adorned with an optional adhesive backed metal stud kit. On the chain or off, a spiked up collar goes a long way projecting that certain image."

Or, "Earn respect, take props and if need be, bust caps."

"If you're not a canine aficionado, you need not apply. Peta commandos, back off, our dog is off the chain."

"We as a company reject cliches, innuendous (sic), and rumor mongering. Instead we have adopted a pictogram approach to all our products. It allows us to tell our story yet keeps us out of trouble with the legal department. This one has a vicious hell dog who has just broken his chain. You know what that means."

To be fair, at the bottom of most descriptions they have a disclaimer, such as it is: "And to all the haters and nay-sayers - Icon does not support or condone any type of dog fighting. Never have, never will. Don't get it twisted."


Excuse me if I do, in fact, get it "all twisted". When you promote products by repeatedly using a stereotypical image of one of the most persecuted, prejudiced, misunderstood breeds on the planet and feature in the product description wording such as the above, excuse me if I do believe that you are promoting a thuggish, dogfight-supporting lifestyle.

Excuse me if I choose to be repulsed by your "anything to make a buck" mentality, even if in the course of making a buck you help promote a level of fear and misunderstanding that continues to perpetuate hostility towards a breed that already has more stigma than it can handle.

And, by all means, excuse me if I choose, in response to the choices you've made, to spread my thoughts about your choice of marketing tools as far and wide as I can. Call me a "hater" or a "nay-sayer" all day, Icon. If being someone who see pit bulls as something other than an easy way to make a fast buck makes me a "hater", I'll wear the title proudly.

Want to send your own message to Icon? Just click here.


Carole Clifford said...

There are a lot of people out here that are trying to promote the gentleness and beauty of pit bulls and you are using vicious. These animals are not vicious unless you have vicious owners. It's a bad idea to promote these dogs this way, because a lot of people are not only scared of them, they do terrible things to them.
There are some terrible people out there and this only helps inspire them.

Paw Print City said...

I agree. Regardless of what this company says, I believe that using an image like this to promote their products is irresponsible at best, callous at worst. To fail to take into account the stigma attached to this breed, or to take it into account and not care, and use the image to make money tells me all I need to know about their character.


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