I sent the following email to Waggener Edstrom (ad agency for Microsoft), and Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, yesterday. It’s about a Microsoft video that I recently watched called, “Rabbits Rule.”
The video features a classroom rabbit called “Sniffs” and promotes Microsoft Office 2010 software.
Please note: this is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of San Diego House Rabbit Society, the House Rabbit Society, its chapters and/or affiliates.
I would like to comment on a video ad called “Rabbits Rule,” which features a rabbit called “Sniffs” to promote MS Office 2010.
With all due respect, I wish that Microsoft, and/or Waggener Edstrom, would consult with a rabbit-savvy organization like the House Rabbit Society before launching ads like this.
Couldn’t you have at least called rabbit lover and former Microsoft ad star, Amy Sedaris? I believe that Amy, or any person familiar with rabbits, would tell you that rabbits do not “rule” in this video. Not one bit.
As a rabbit rescuer in Southern California, I feel qualified to comment on your ad. Sniffs the rabbit is in one of the worst possible scenarios for a companion rabbit: a classroom.
“Sniffs” looks miserable in “Rabbits Rule.” The kids are holding him in a way that would be uncomfortable, or even frightening, for many rabbits. Sniffs certainly looks scared.
His cage is small, and not even close to being adequate for a rabbit of that size.
Sniffs does not seem to have any fresh hay, which is a crucial part of a rabbit’s diet.
Rabbits are a very poor choice for “classroom pets,” and it’s unfortunate that Microsoft has chosen to promote that concept.
Rabbits are crepuscular; they are most active at sunrise and sunset. During the day, they need to sleep. Being in a classroom with exuberant children is very stressful for a rabbit. Sniffs doesn’t even have a place to escape to inside of his too-small cage.
Rabbits are highly intelligent, social animals that form deep bonds with their people. A classroom does not afford a rabbit that opportunity.
During school breaks, rabbits are often shuttled around different homes, or unfamiliar situations, which can be very stressful.
Sniffs may have done a great service to Microsoft by helping you sell more software, but Microsoft has done a great disservice to companion rabbits everywhere by promoting classroom rabbits.
This video is likely to encourage more teachers to put rabbits in classrooms. As a result, more rabbits will suffer.
I suggest that you consult with the House Rabbit Society for any future advertising plans. They could provide guidance for a video that would be kind to rabbits AND meet your sales objectives.
Lucky Bunny Rabbit Rescue