Lumps in Their Trail Mix - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Lumps in Their Trail Mix

On Super-Sunday, millions of Americans watched and adored “Lost Dog,” the uber-cute Budweiser ad featuring a yellow Lab puppy that most of the nation, given the chance, would happily have adopted on Monday. 

“Lost Dog” was clearly the pick of the XLIX commercial litter. A USA Today consumer panel of almost 7,000 picked it as the most popular of 61 commercials that cost advertisers up to $4.5 million per 30 seconds. The ad is a sequel to “Puppy Love,” also from Anheuser-Busch, also cute to the max, and last year’s winner. In fact, “Lost Dog” makes it a three-peat for Anheuser-Busch, which has won the ad contest in 13 of the last 15 Super Bowls. The company that produces a light, gassy, and characterless beer dominates Super-Sunday in a way no NFL team ever has or ever will. (Just how many bottles and cans of Bud the puppy sells can probably never be measured.)

The popularity of “Lost Dog” is cross-cultural, appealing to all ethnic, racial, and cultural groups as well as both sexes. For heartstring pulling in the Western World, cute puppies are about as sure-fire as it gets. Even Mike Tyson, a man so fierce and menacing during his youth and boxing career that he made Sonny Liston seem like the Avon Lady by comparison, said the ad made him cry. Can you feature it? Iron Mike weeping over a puppy in distress, and cheered to his soul (who in the 1980s would have guessed that he had one?) when the puppy overcame the danger.

So there you have it. Universal love for a story of love between horse and dog and man. Manipulative, perhaps. But who cares? What’s life without a little manipulation? No one with a heart could possibly dislike this uplifting vignette.

But wait a minute. As hard as it is to believe, there is a group that didn’t like the ad. Apparently the ad and its happy conclusion caused no cheering at the headquarters of the Sierra Club — an upscale Earth worship cult operating out of Planet San Francisco. Sierra’s leaders sent out a post-game blast to members calling on them to write to Anheuser-Busch and complain about the ad.

So why do the Lexus lefties of Sierra have lumps in their trail-mix over this seemingly harmless ad? I’ll have to tell you because you’d never guess in a hundred years. TAS readers are too normal to fathom this one without help.

The Sierra brain trust (misplaced trust it would seem) is up in arms over “Lost Dog” because it does harm to the reputation of a formerly endangered species, the wolf. That’s right, the Left has identified yet another victim, and it’s the misunderstood wolf.

Let’s review the ad: Adorable puppy falls from a truck and must brave hazards and privations of the wild on his own until he is re-united with his Clydesdale and human friends. One of the hazards is a wolf who confronts the puppy in the woods with a growl. My wolf is a little rusty, but my translation of that greeting is, “You’d make a dandy dinner, little guy.” Happily for the pup, his Clydesdale friends show up just then. The wolf, no fool, sizes up the room and decides to fade into the woods and seek his supper elsewhere.

Doubtless the wolf did come up with a meal elsewhere, and was none the worse for the dog and horse encounter. But you’d never know that to read Sierra’s breathless pleas for its members to call out Anheuser-Busch for cruelty to wolves. A sample: 

The most popular advertisement from this year’s Super Bowl was bad news for wolves…. an adorable puppy gets lost and threatened by a “vicious” wolf before being saved by the Budweiser Clydesdales.

The truth is wolves are not the enemy, but an at-risk and formerly endangered species that needs our protection.

This is pretty overheated stuff. And as manipulative as the Budweiser ad itself. Note the quotation marks around “vicious.” I’m sure a real pup like our hero facing a real wolf in real woods would feel threatened and consider the wolf vicious. So would the dog’s owner and any animal friends the pup might have. And Sierra gives away part of its case when it refers to the wolf as a “formerly endangered species.” Formerly because of the return the animal has enjoyed.

Sierra goes on: “Budweiser’s exploitation of a misplaced fear of wolves is irresponsible and casts these creatures as a villain in the name of selling more beer.”

Please. First of all, the puppy’s fear of a specific wolf in this situation is hardly misplaced. And I can’t imagine who would think of a wolf as a “villain” for following its nature. After all, wolves aren’t social workers. They’re top-of-the-food-chain carnivores.

Sierra goes on to remind its members that the idea of the “big bad wolf” is just “fairy tale fiction.” This is mostly true, unless you own livestock or a small pet where wolves thrive. Sierra ends by declaring that “wolves are not the enemy, but a victim. Wolves need help, not hate.”

Good luck explaining to the puppy how the wolf who is about to end his days is a victim. And isn’t it amazing how the Left can turn up victims anywhere for any occasion? And how promiscuous they are in throwing about the charge of “hate.” Obviously one can wish to not have wolves and one’s pet in the same ZIP code without “hating” the wolf. And it’s easy enough to believe that wolves have a place in this world without fooling ourselves that an adult wolf would not make a quick snack out of America’s currently most popular TV puppy. 

Molly Brooksbank, who signed the Sierra plea to disturb Anheuser-Busch’s peace, did not actually say that she would have been happier had the wolf bolted the puppy before the Clydesdales arrived. But we are left to wonder. The Sierra Club might be taken more seriously if it would just be more serious.

Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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