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Advertising Gets the Message
Marinell Harriman
From House Rabbit Journal Vol. 4, Nr. 7 - Summer 2002

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  • An Open Letter to Petco
  • THE NEW SUBARU COMMERCIAL WAS AIRED on TV. It showed a mother and daughter releasing (abandoning) a domestic rabbit into the woods in an act of supposed kindness. Anyone familiar with HRS knows the fallacy in this concept. For 14 years we have been rescuing rabbits who were abandoned into parks, school yards, residential neighborhoods, country roads, city streets, and (if they're lucky) into humane societies.

    It came as a jolt to see abandonment being glamorized on national TV. Our 14 years of effort were threatened.How could our educational message compete against such a media blitz? The answer was in Subaru's own press release, describing their customers as smart, independent individuals "fully engaged in life and confi- dent in their convictions." This is the description of most rabbit people.

    Not only are we confident in our convictions, but our HRS educators are of diverse talents, and we are connected around the world through the Internet. Our New York chapter manager, Mary Cotter, contacted Subaru headquarters, then worked all night on a PRNewswire release for HRS. Contact information was posted on our Web site, and rabbit people everywhere began to educate the advertisers with e-mail, faxes and phone calls.

    On June 10, Subaru let HRS know that it would pull the ad and make an announcement in Ad Age magazine. This got the attention of many newspapers around the U.S. and Canada . HRS Executive Director, Margo DeMello, asked all of HRS to thank Subaru for their "quick and compassionate response to our concerns."

    It appears, "they got it," and ironically, many of our rescuers own Subarus and use them to haul bunnies.

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