Many ferret owners and AFA members have contacted the AFA regarding
the controversial commercial recently being aired by Verizon Wireless
that features a ferret who attacks an antagonistic man making faces
at the ferret. Gigi Shields, president of the American Ferret Association,
wrote a letter to Verizon Wireless on behalf of the AFA. The following
is her letter and the brief reply that she received from Verizon.
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing you in regard to the current Verizon Wireless
featuring the man with a seemingly vicious ferret.
At best, it is in utter poor taste. At worst, it unfairly maligns
most popular interactive pet in the United States and seriously
those of us who love them. I am certain that this includes a number
Verizon customers--like myself.
There are over 7 million pet ferrets in the country, and those
of us who
share our lives with them find them to be extremely intelligent,
joyful, loyal, and loving creatures. Statistically, you are 200
likely to end up in the emergency room with an injury from the family
than from a ferret.
Ferrets have been recognized as domesticated companion animals
least 4 B.C.E. The Romans spread ferrets through Europe when they
for rodent control. Currently, they are being used in the British
run cable and wire in construction projects. Additionally, ferrets
and abroad as therapy animals in hospitals and nursing homes.
While we realize that you did not mean any harm, the content
commercial only feeds the misconceptions about ferrets that we battle
day. We have fought long and hard to educate the general public
true nature of the domestic ferret, and in one fell swoop, you have
to undo years of work. Ferrets are illegal in California because
the Fish &
Game Department there considers ferrets 'wild' and a danger to humans.
Californians for Ferret Legalization group has been working for
years to get ferrets legalized in their state. I can only imagine
you have unintentionally done to all their efforts.
If you would like to portray a ferret accurately in your advertisements,
- a ferret doing tricks to her owner's command, issued over
crystal clear Verizon Wireless connection;
- a ferret doing his famous Dance of Joy with his owner to
celebrate an excellent customer service experience with Verizon
- a ferret carrying off her owner's cellular phone and hiding
it in her special corner because everyone wants Verizon Wireless.
These are just a few examples of natural, endearing ferret
you could use to demonstrate the superiority of your product without
resorting to tasteless slapstick and staged violence. If you would
more suggestions, I know that the members of the American Ferret
would be happy to assist you in creating a successful, factual,
ad campaign. We're also ready to supply you with some genuine ferret
sounds-unlike whatever that was supposed to be in the commercial
I'd like very much for Verizon Wireless to pull and revise
advertisement. I am anxious to hear your version of the story, and
I will be
glad to publish your response on the American Ferret Association's
and in the latest issue of the American Ferret Report.
Thanks very much for your consideration.
Gigi Martinez Shields, President
American Ferret Association, Inc.
Dear Ms Martinez:
I write in response to your letter of correspondence where you provided
us with your feedback and concern regarding the Verison Wireless
commercial featuring a ferret.
Please be assured that we had no intention of offending anyone
with the commerical.
Your thoughts are important to us and we thank you for spending
your valuable time bringing them to our atttention.
Sr. Correspondence Specialist