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Shoe City ad: Lowe Bull "regrets any distress caused", apologises

In a statement late afternoon on Wednesday, 8 June 2011, Lowe Bull CEO Wayne Naidoo regretted any distress caused by the Shoe City ad, saying it was never the agency's aim to encourage cruelty towards animals. "The 'cat' ad was never intended to cause offence at any point," he said. "However, we acknowledge that it is possible to interpret the ad in such a way that it looks to be in poor taste. For this we apologise. No harm was meant."
Wayne Naidoo, CEO of Lowe Bull.
According to Naidoo, the ad is one execution in an extended campaign: "To put the ad into context, the campaign looks at hypothetical situations where something has gone wrong in a person's day, with varying degrees of disaster. For example: spilling coffee on your lap, spilling coffee on your laptop or spilling coffee on your boss's laptop.

"The solution is some retail therapy to help cheer you up - a new pair of shoes from Shoe City. The tone of the campaign is light-hearted and not malevolent."

Shoe City: Coffee.
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Shoe City: Ex-husband.
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Shoe City: Petrol.
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Shoe City: Cat.
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Naidoo further pointed out that the agency does have a proven track record with animal anti-cruelty organisations, evident in its pro bono campaigns for Animal Anti Cruelty (with which it's been involved for over eight years), Stop Rhino Poaching, SASSI (for endangered fish) and DAWG. "And we will continue to do work for these worthy causes," he added.

"Once again we sincerely apologise for any distress caused."

For more:

For More list updated at 3.55pm on 21 June 2011.
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Philip Malan
@ Jo maxx (Depending from which angle you're interpreting it) this ad also tells you: LOOK OUT WHEN YOU DRIVE! which is, I would say a message that conveys "anti - animal cruelty". because why did you run over that kitty in the first place? maybe speeding in the neighborhood? Hey we all cross the line sometimes, it's those creatives who take a chance that develop very effective advertising. Animal cruelty is also relative! We don't see anything wrong with the fact that KFC slaughter millions of chickens for our consumption. What makes a chicken any different from a cat? I bet if you spend time with a chicken you'd also start caring for it as you would for a cat or any other animal for that matter.
Posted on 9 Jun 2011 15:10
Tafadzwa Alvin Matewa
that was some creative advertising.....very unfortunate
Posted on 9 Jun 2011 16:01
Stefanus Nel
This is ridiculous. I'm a big animal lover and have many Persian cats. I donate money to the SPCA and hate people who are cruel to animals. But I fail to see how this ad encourages animal abuse. Lindsay Grubb you seriously need to get a life. Your original article where you complain is so pathetic. Why don't you get of you butt and go and walk a dog at the SPCA. Then you'll actually make a difference.
Posted on 9 Jun 2011 18:10
Madame Maxine
@ PRguru : This is probably the most insightful comment I have read during this entire petty fiasco. Good on ya man!!! The outpour of bigotry that this issue has caused has been shocking. There are much more important issues in the world than the death of a hypothetical cat. Let's move on from this ridiculous and frankly embarrassing 'outcry' by a bunch of people that take themselves way too seriously and focus on things that really matter. Sheesh!!
Posted on 9 Jun 2011 18:24
Kyle Cockeran
I wish someone would drive over the Shoe City marketing team and the editor of You magazine. All of whom must have signed off on the campaign at some point, no? Lowe Bull has absolutely nothing to apologise for. I live for the day an advertiser stands up and says, "You don't like our ad? Have a cup of cement and harden the f*** up." PRguru, you said it best. This kind of capitulation just encourages the invisible army of Mother Grundies out there who will willingly tank your campaign at the slightest 'offence' - their arthritic little fingers ever-poised and ready to fire off a barrage of bile at anyone they disapprove of. And worse still, the Clients actually listen to them. What they don't know, of course, is that a lot of the time these online campaigns against certain ads are secretly driven by agencies who covet the incumbent's account. A fool and their money...
Posted on 9 Jun 2011 19:41
Murray Campbell
LOL @ Phill " What makes a chicken any different from a cat" That is the stupidest comment I have heard this year.. classic. When last did you buy a frozen cat off a supermarket shelf, but hey, if you have a chicken curled up at the bottom of your bed at night i can see how you think like that.. lol.I showed my ad to my animal loving girlfriend.. what did she say.. " nice boots"Big up to Lowe Bull for apologising when there was no need.
Posted on 10 Jun 2011 10:15
Philip Malan
@ Murray I was trying to get the point across of how ridiculous it is to give this particular ad/campaign this much attention. Especially if one thinks that "Ran over a cat" is advocating animal cruelty.And no. I don't have a chicken at the bottom of my bed, actually (ironically a cat, haha hell everything seems to be about cats) If you suggest that the animal being frozen and available on the shelf is the difference between a chicken and a cat then you are completely missing the point. Have you ever created an advertising campaign? Have you worked in advertising? Don't just randomly label comments as stupid.PS. Saw this on Twitter yesterday: Some of best creativity comes from bad ideas pushed too far- Makerbot's Bre Pettis (Not that this ad was one of the best ideas pushed too far)
Posted on 10 Jun 2011 11:02
Dean Harty
LOL I'm board with this complaint/topic i cant believe its gone on this long - next
Posted on 10 Jun 2011 11:12
Murray Campbell
@ Phill .. I got it. Your comment was funny though.In any event, if these complaints were not here I dont think I would have even seen the ad.. Is any publicity still good publicity.. me thinks so.
Posted on 10 Jun 2011 11:37
Jason Cumming
This video might help explain a few things:
Posted on 10 Jun 2011 12:42
Murray Campbell
OMG, why did'nt anyone say that sooner.
Posted on 13 Jun 2011 11:24
Adriaan Toit
I can only speak for myself here, but this advert totally emphasises the dangerous mental association between feline cruelty and the justification of consumerism.In fact, shortly after seeing the thing I deliberately drove my car over my neighbour's dog (they don't have a cat) in an attempt to retroactively justify the recent purchase of a Big Mac when I knew perfectly well that a cheeseburger would have sufficed.I am now stuck with the animal's not-insignificant medical expenses as well as the understandable anguish resulting from my actions.You, Wayne Naidoo, will be hearing form my legal representative.
Posted on 14 Jun 2011 16:47
Zama Sibaya
It's a shame when creative license has to explain itself everytime someone feels the need to attack an ad. It's a pity that Shoe City didn't feel inclined to make the 'apology' themselves because all the glory goes to the brand never to the ad agency, really. To the agency, that was a campaaign of sheer brilliance. As the S.A. consumer gets more and more money conscious, as more and more modern brands infiltrate the shelves, branding is getting trickier and sneekier for consumer who is cheekier. Well done even for communicating relevence; things that happen in every day life!
Posted on 15 Jun 2011 09:34