Offensive Shoe Ad Involving Tied Up Dog

Carol, an Itchmo reader and blogger of Frogdog Blog, sent us information about an incredibly offensive and demeaning advertisement for Exit Urban Shoes.

We have posted the picture below the jump because the picture may be disturbing to some readers.

Here is some information that Carol found if you want to voice your opinion about this horrible ad:

Write to Exit Urban Shoes:

More contact methods for Exit Urban:
Phone +32 (0)2 345 08 79

Ogilvy Advertising Press and General Inquiries
Contact Eleanor Mascheroni, Chief Marketing Officer, at

Ogilvy Advertising Media Planning and Implementation
Contact our digital/direct media company, Neo@Ogilvy at


The company that ran the ad said they ran the ad once three years ago. Since they received such a negative response to the ad, they pulled the ad. (Thanks Macushla)

As shibadiva said in the comments, “They did pull the ad and apologize to those who wrote at the time. However, it doesn’t hurt to remind the bright-lights at Ogilvy and the client executives that the internet has a certain persistence and this won’t go away any time soon. Their porn versions of the ad weren’t too great either.”

UPDATE 2: Frances, a reader, emailed us this response she received from Ogilvy:

I am responding to your mail about the “Doberman” ad for the Belgian Shoe
manufacturer Exit Shoes. This ad was done by our office in Brussels in
2005. It appeared in two local fashion magazines in August 2005. Following
its publication, concerns were raised by people who were offended by the
ad. We immediately removed it from the marketplace, issued a press
statement and apologized to each individual who had expressed their

Ogilvy Brussels published an article about the matter in the two magazines
in which the Exit advertisement had run explaining the story behind the ad.
The article about the “Doberman” ad, which appeared in August 2005 in ‘Elle
Belgique’ and ‘Marie-Claire Belgique’, was published in the September issue
of those magazines. The article explains that the dog’s fur, body, paws,
head, muzzle, and teeth, along with the laces and the snow were all
separately photographed, before being digitally mounted, and tweaked.
Pepsi, the leading lady, a wonderful 7-year-old dog, did not suffer at all.
I can only reiterate that Ogilvy regrets that this work caused offence and
offer to you our sincere apologies.

The work is undoubtedly controversial. We are sorry for causing any offence
and for hurting your feelings. It is the job of creative advertising to
generate stand-out and competitive edge advertising for brands. Agencies
will always push at the boundaries, but we recognise that in this instance
the line had been crossed. The debate about what is and is not acceptable
in advertising content predates and will long outlive this particular
incident, but we have learned that the line between acceptability and
giving offence is a thin one and one which must be constantly monitored,
whatever target audience you are trying to reach. In this case, we crossed
that line and we regret it.

We hope that, through this short explanation, we have managed to assuage
your anger and to respond to some of your questions.

Yours sincerely,

Jan Van Aken
CEO Ogilvy Belgium
Office: +32-2-5456639

Source: Frogdog Blog

25 Responses to “Offensive Shoe Ad Involving Tied Up Dog”

  1. dookie says:

    OMG…What kind of mind thinks up this? I can’t think of any connection to buy shoes. The ad is extremely offensive.
    Total lack of sensitivity to animal issue in this day and age.
    Ogilvy Advertising Media Planning and Implementation need to be fired for such a disregard.
    Pathetic, totally pathetic…
    Shame on you.

  2. Purringfur says:


    I sent my emails!

    Carol, thanks for drawing this to our attention. I hope others fire off some emails as well.

    And I hope the person who created the ad & the one who approved the ad at the shoe company are all fired. The shoe company’s profits for the year, if there are any profits after this, should be donated to fighting animal cruelty.

  3. angery says:

    Well what dookie said!!! Gees that ad would run me away insted of enticing me.

  4. Nora and Rufus says:

    SICKENING ! I hope that heads roll at the agency because of this. The poor dog is obviously terrified. Those sickening AS$Hole$. i would NEVER buy any of their shoes now, EVER!!!!!

  5. Nell Liquorman says:

    There seems to be something powerfully wrong. It is hard to believe that anyone in the advertising industry or the leather shoe industry would even come up with such an ad. I know nothing about this particular shoe company, or if it really is one.
    The first thing that comes to my mind is an animal rights group that wants to disturb the public into not wearing leather. To use a dog in this manner is more a terrorism tactic than an advertisement.
    Lately, many of us have learned that animal rights groups have infiltrated many other areas, could this be one?

  6. anon says:

    Hear we go again with off-topic agendas - Nell, if you think this HORRIBLE ad was done by an animal rights group, you’re delusional. I don’t mean to be disrespectful - but come on already! Anyway, this ad is disgusting and let’s not rest until we get it pulled. Let’s call and write and, of course, not purchase anything from this company!!

  7. rainslynn says:

    Sick. I AM offended. Will send off my emails. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  8. Carol says:

    There is more info about this on the forum—

    (a different Carol)

  9. Macushla says:

    I called the company directly — they’re in Belgium. They said they ran the ad once three years ago and the reaction was so negative, they have never run it again. They are being flooded by emails and letters from the U.S. She said they do understand the reaction to the ad when it first ran, but don’t understand why they are getting such a response now. The ad should not be running anywhere. They fired the ad agency and no longer have animals in their ads. She did acknowledge that running the ad in the first place was a big mistake.

  10. shibadiva says:

    They did pull the ad and apologize to those who wrote at the time. However, it doesn’t hurt to remind the bright-lights at Ogilvy and the client executives that the internet has a certain persistence and this won’t go away any time soon. Their porn versions of the ad weren’t too great either.

    What were the clients thinking to approve this garbage in the first place and not fire the agency sooner?

    Why are they surprised that people are still complaining. Just head over to Ad Krispies where David the “marketing exec” that runs that blog thinks he and the ads are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    Wonder what’s the best way to get the word out to other ad agencies and their clients? Complaints to your Advertising Standards Council might help.

  11. shibadiva says:

    Here’s the Ad Krispies link.

  12. Claudia says:

    As a graphic designer in the business for 10 years, I seriously don’t know what possessed the ad company to create this offensive ad other than it gets your attention and created controversy. Even though this might not have been an actual dog that was used in the photograph, the mere idea reinforces the “it’s just an animal” attitude among many and sets us animal lovers back decades. Sad.

  13. Guthrie says:

    I am also sending e-mails to clients of Ogilvy, such as Coke, Ford, Dove, Nestle!, etc. I don’t think they should be using such an agency. I don’t want the money I spend on those products supporting such antisocial morons.

  14. Carolyn & Maggie says:

    If that were a baby, a child, a human of any kind, it would be considered a sick sick ad. Why did they think using an animal is acceptable, even witty? The idea that this would SELL their product is beyond me. It is still a sick sick ad.

  15. l.g. says:

    Not only is it a horrible photo, but I just don’t get it. What’s the connection? How’d they come up with this and who in their right mind would approve it to be circulated???

  16. mittens says:

    of course fashion photographers for years have been placing women in the exact same position to allegedly sell clothing . and they’re ‘artists’ and ‘ visionaries’ and they now get retrospectives at the whitney.

  17. Denise says:

    I am at work but I will write tomorrow. this is abuse at its finest. good job everyone and thanks for the information. Denise

  18. lisamin says:

    I guess I’m slow, but I don’t understand what the gist of the ad is…I don’t mean that I think it’s acceptable, I just mean I don’t know what it’s trying to convey. So, it’s incomprehensible AND offensive, how smart!

  19. Denise says:

    Lisamin I don’t get it either you are not the only one. it just looks terrible for the poor dog what’s wrong with people.

  20. shibadiva says:

    If anyone cares to pursue this with the advertising regulatory board in Belgium (even though the case is old, it could improve standards), their email is

  21. Angela says:

    Not sure if anyone else commented about this, but they also had a tv ad a while ago in Europe that showed a cat being decapitated by the sunroof of the car they were advertising. They intended it to be funny, but I think it was completely over the line.

    I think I’ll also be writing to Ford to tell them that I don’t appreciate their choice of ad agencies

    I found it on

  22. shibadiva says:

    Angela, thanks for the Snopes link. That and the pigeon ad also crossed the line. What’s going on in the dungeons of Ogilvy & Mather?

    Maybe Jan Van Aken should take a closer look at some of his creatives. Where do they get their ideas for this “cutting edge competitive” garbage?

    Oh and pulleeeeaze, Ford, don’t blame it on an internet leak.

  23. Hazel Chambers says:

    The ad is real and offensive. Equally offensive is the knee-jerk response of Nell that is this was just another plot by “animal rights” people.

    A very simple internet search would have shown that the ads were very real.

    There are people who go over the line in evey field of interest…and that includes animals…and this inclues animal welfare and animal rights.

    This does not mean;however, that the issues they are concerned with are not real.

  24. Hazel Chambers says:


    Are you by any chance a member of Center for Consumer Freedom. They are very anti- animal welfare, animal rights, organic farming, MADD etc.

    They are a front for tobacco, liquor companies, factory farms, fast food….and anyone else who object animal being treated like objects.

    And they feed off people who are willing to automatically assume wrong doing and a “plot” anytime concerned people speak out about something like the Exit Urban ads.

  25. pheephee35 says:

    Guthrie — I like that antisocial morons moniker.

    Their apology letter is quite thorough, and they say sorry several times. That is much better than what I got from Carl’s Jr. several years ago when they ran ads showing a guy in the laundromat putting all his clothes (he was wearing) in the machine because he thought the girl was doing the same thing. The ad ended with an upclose of his nakedness covered only by his Carl’s Jr. sack of food. Blech blech blech.

    The female exec at Carl’s Jr. told me how competitive “the industry” is, and that they did the ad to get people’s attention. It was not an apology at all. I say boycott those who are so offensive.

    I will likely never be able to afford their shoes any way, but if it says Exit Urban shoes, or seems to be connected in anyway, I will go barefoot before I buy them! (see my post on the cat in the luggage!)

    I have gotten in the habit of writing protest e-mails to offensive companies. Our only power is the pen/keyboard!

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