Posts tagged “cat food”

ChittahChattah Quickies

The Writer of a Cat Food Commercial Confronts a Focus Group [] – This “Short Imagined Monologue” by Mike Gallagher has a little fun with the unfortunate power dynamics of a focus group, and the struggle those behind the glass can have accepting the feedback that they are asking (and paying) for. Fault must lie at the feet of the participants, who are clearly incapable of understanding!

I don’t mean to startle you by barging into your focus group like this. Everything’s cool. I’ve been watching you guys from behind the one-way mirror there and I thought I’d make my presence known. Normally I’m content to just chill behind the glass, make disparaging comments to my fellow observers, and eat handfuls of M&Ms. And while I know this is “highly irregular” I feel like I have to say something to help you better understand the overall messaging, the gestalt if you will, of the TV commercials we’re testing here today. Not to take anything away from Fiona, your lovely and talented focus group moderator. Hey, she’s doing a great, great job… I don’t think you people truly appreciate what’s at stake here. We, all of us, are tasked with “redefining” the pet food commercial from the bowl up… What’s concerning me is that my work may be too- strong for you groundlings. Too avant-garde. So this one time I’m going to explain it very slowly and in terms you can all understand. Like captions for the “Thinking Impaired”.

Life’s Abundance or Nature’s Variety?

The tainted pet food story gets worse.

Menu Foods told the FDA it received the first complaints of kidney failure and deaths among cats and dogs from pet owners on Feb. 20. It began new tests on Feb. 27. During those tests, the company fed its product to 40 to 50 dogs and cats, and seven of those animals died.

I think the horror this induces is a clue to our naivete about how stuff is made. This story brings up the recent food-supply fears (i.e., spinach, green onions), with the added pathos of beloved pets innocently suffering and dying. So what does the company do when safety concerns are raised? Well, nothing for SEVEN DAYS (while people around North America are feeding their beloved pets), and then takes some of their own animals (perhaps not-so-beloved) and gives the food to them and then waits to see how many die (meanwhile, people around North America continue to feed their beloved pets this stuff).

It’s easy (see?) to cast the company as callous and heartless and incompetent – and maybe they are; the twist of giving potentially deadly food to more animals as a way to test its safety is wrenching. But then one has to ask, how do they normally product test their pet food before putting it on the market? Presumably by feeding it to animals and seeing what happens.

Yet another backstage aspect of product development that we don’t know and don’t want to know. Every time you scoop some Kibbles-n-Grits Extra Chunky Sauce into Rover’s bowl, how many other animals died to ensure that he’s not going to?


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