Mazda gets cat calls

Hundreds of phone calls from militant cat lovers to Mazda Canada recently caused the company to revise a 30-second tv spot for its mpv compact van.The offending comments about cats were made by the commercial's star, a wise-cracking canine.The dog notes...

Hundreds of phone calls from militant cat lovers to Mazda Canada recently caused the company to revise a 30-second tv spot for its mpv compact van.

The offending comments about cats were made by the commercial’s star, a wise-cracking canine.

The dog notes as it jumps into the van for the first time, ‘There’s enough room in here to swing a cat.’

Later during the family outing, the dog urges his owner, who is driving, to ‘Get the cat. Get the cat,’ when a feline darts out in front of the van.

When the cat makes it to the other side of the road, he laments, ‘Darn the abs brakes.’

Most callers felt the commercial encouraged drivers to run over cats.

Jeff Kess, national advertising manager for Mazda, says, ‘It was always intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but people obviously didn’t take it that way.’

The commercial kicked off late in January with a six-week run.

Changes to the script were made during a three-week hiatus.

The offending lines have been changed to: ‘There’s enough room in here for my fire hydrant,’ and, ‘Watch the cat. Watch the cat. Oh, abs brakes.’

The 30-second version was edited to 25 seconds with a five-second sell space for special features and aired for another two weeks at the end of March.

Mazda’s agency is Foote Cone Belding, Toronto.