Superbowl Sunday, as millions of Americans crowded around TVs to watch the game, the Denny’s restaurant group surprised us. It ran a commercial-within-a-commercial that featured a man sitting before one of Denny’s “Grand Slam” breakfasts. He was addressing–in a matter-of-fact tone–an audience of chickens. And the chickens were doing various weekend things–sitting at home watching TV with their loved ones, playing pool in a bar, shopping for electronics.
“I don’t want to spoil anyone’s Sunday, but I have an important message for all you chickens out there: GET OUT OF TOWN,” the man in the commercial-within-a-commercial said.
Why? Because, he explained, Denny’s was offering a free Grand Slam breakfast (pancakes, eggs) to everyone in America.
The advertisement shocked Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, a national farm animal protection organization. “Denny’s inadvertently delivered a powerful animal protection message to millions of Super Bowl fans. It’s not every day that a major restaurant chain makes a public acknowledgment of the animal suffering that goes into the creation of their menu items, but that is precisely what Denny’s did with their ‘Chicken Warning’ ads,” Baur said in a press release.
As apprehensions clearly mounted among the feathered viewers, the Denny’s man continued, “That’s a lot of eggs! So rest assured, ladies. It’s gonna be a rough week for you egg layers.”
But most hens don’t spend just one week laying eggs, or have time to relax on Sundays. On factory farms, where the majority of our country’s chickens and chicken-products come from, the animals live packed in wire cages and dark warehouses. According to Baur, “The spoken message that ‘it’s going to be a tough week for egg layers’ couldn’t have been more spot on. The cruel way these sensitive, intelligent birds are treated on America’s factory farms is incongruent with Americans’ values of compassion.”
In their various locations, the chickens began to scream and fly into each other, frantic as the man on the commercial finished, “Great day to be an American. Bad day to be a chicken.”
Baur, meanwhile, urges Americans to “remember that we are a nation that has always prided itself on fighting injustice and reaching out to those in need, rather than tolerating the torture and abuse of individuals less powerful than ourselves. Regardless of whether or not people found the ads humorous, Denny’s made the connection between animal suffering and the food on their menu, giving viewers a glimpse at the nasty truth behind eggs.”
View the ad on YouTube here.