I'm someone who is pretty skeptical of PETA even though I'm marginally sympathetic to their cause. By that I mean that I am in general concerned about egregious, wide-spread abuse of animals and convinced of the need for a much less meat-centric diet/ food economy, but I also 1) do not think that omnivorism per se constitutes cruelty to animals, 2) don't think that animal rights would clock in anywhere near the top public policy priorities even if I did, and 3) it seems to me that PETA's media strategies are usually pretty counterproductive and mockable. Like, really? Sea-kittens?
But with this sexy new ad, I think the animals-are-people-too crowd has done itself some good. First of all, they cleverly maximized their impact by, it seems, purposely submitting an ad to the Super Bowl ad committee that was going to be judged too racy for prime time - however, the rejection has catapulted the ad campaign into the consciousness of the MSM (as well as YouTube) far better and much more cheaply than had the ad actually ran.
Equally importantly, though, the whole tone is way better. First of all, this ad makes you laugh with, rather than at (see: Sea Kittens) PETA. Liberals in general and environmental/animal rights activists in particular have a reputation for being humorless scolds who want to stamp out all that is good in life. And its true in one respect - activist groups spend far more time yelling at people about what they shouldn't do (like the PETA activists in my neighborhood who dress in creepy bunny suits and yell at all the little old ladies wearing fur coats...) and not nearly enough time pushing a positive, persuasive vision of why life is a lot better with more asparagus (which it is!) or whatever.
Not that I think that PETA is going to change many people's minds going forward - but just wanted to note that having gorgeous women rubbing your argument all over their bodies is a much better direction to be going in.
29 January, 2009
posted by Elliot at 8:44 PM