The American Veterinary Medical Association is not known for being on the cutting edge of pop culture or media relations. Like its cousin the American Medical Association, professional organizations like this all tend to err on the side of conservatism. That is just the nature of the beast, and I get that.
So it is with some degree of bemusement that I noted the AVMA has recently released a 30 second movie trailer in honor of its 150th anniversary. And why, might you ask, does the profession need a movie trailer? From the press release:
“The goal of the ad is to promote the veterinary profession to the public, and to highlight the many other things that veterinarians do beyond treating pet cats and dogs,” explains Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, president of the AVMA. “We hope that this will help boost public awareness of the important role veterinarians fill in our society, and across the globe.”
It ran all last week, but in case you didn’t catch it, here is the fruit of their creative labors:
Yes. Well. I’d say filmmaking is not the strong suit of my profession, no? I’m not even going to address the music, because that is beyond unforgiveable. There have been so many hundreds of thousands of instrumentals produced since 1995 that it boggles the mind why they couldn’t choose a single one that would be applicable. I’ll admit it. I cringed.
Speaking of cringing, can we talk about the Kool Aid man “OH YEAHHHHH”? Because I have never once used that term to describe anything about my professional career, as in “You know what I did today? A cystotomy OHHHH YEAAAAAH” *high five* I’m thinking back on twelve years of practice plus four of school and I’ve known a lot of nerdy types, and not one has ever been that nerdy.
However, all of that would be forgivable had the piece actually served its self-stated purpose, which to refresh your memory is “boost public awareness of the important role veterinarians fill in our society, and across the globe.”
I appreciate the idea behind the message and I would love to see it realized. I see they got the whole “beyond cats and dogs” thing down, but as far as I could tell the entire segment shows the standard coated veterinarians auscultating a bunch of not-dogs-and-cats over and over. Maybe my clients are savvier than most, but most people understand that veterinarians also treat horses and birds, unless there is a study I am not privy to that says the contrary.
Perhaps at the AVMA conference in July they will reveal the marketing focus group that determined 95% of children 8-12 who will be at Monsters University do not know that veterinarians treat lizards, and if we can get that message across… well, it will make all of us better and more successful. Or maybe this was simply a huge misfire.
I’m sorry, AVMA, as a member I want to love all that you do, but I have yet to meet a single colleague who liked this. I was messaged this 15 separate times by aghast veterinarians who are wondering why none of us were consulted as to why this might be a horrible thing. And it does pain me, because guess what?
Veterinarians ARE amazing. We do things like work with Maasai in dust filled markets to keep their punda healthy and economically viable. We send teams of students out to the most underserved communities on Native American reservations to reach out to not only the animals, but the children who live there and see a glimpse that the outside world cares about their health. We work with MDs to try and find the common links between canine cancer and human cancer. We fit elephants with prosthetics. We keep guide dogs healthy so they can give wounded veterans a reason to get up in the morning. My heart fills with joy every day when I see the jaw dropping work my fellow vets are doing out in this world, and not a single bit of that “HOLY FISTULATED RUMENS THAT WAS COOL” came across in that snoozefest.
To contrast, this is something I made in iMovie while I was in Peru with AmazonCares. I made it WHILE I was in Peru, on a boat. It took about 30 minutes. You tell me which one makes being a vet look like more fun.
We do some seriously cool stuff, and this was an opportunity to showcase that, that was totally squandered.
So, sorry about the trailer guys. Hopefully next time they’ll call Tarantino, or at least, you know, poll a few vets or something.