PETA Ad Dubbed Too Sexy for Super Bowl
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Update: There is a new interview with a PETA Campaign Coordinator at the end of this story.
Hot, sexy, steamy ... vegetables? PETA's latest ad, "Veggie Love," which combines scantily clad supermodels getting intimate with bushels of broccoli and bundles of asparagus, has people talking.
The ad is as horrifying and insulting to women (and men, for that matter) as any Victoria's Secret or Budweiser ad, the catch being that instead of trying to sell overpriced undergarments or a drink that increases your likelihood of calling up your ex, PETA's ad is touting the positive effects of vegetarianism. Namely the sexy positive effects.
"Studies show," the ad reads as a hard-core rock song plays and the women frolic with foliage, "vegetarians have better sex." (Actually, the ad is really just knocking meat eating, as the studies they are talking about link meat consumption to impotence.)
"Veggie Love," PETA's Web site says, was for a coveted Super Bowl ad slot, so the hypersexed imagery could be taken as a tongue-in-cheek poke at all the other football adverts that try to draw a correlation between really hot babes and Dr. Scholl's insoles. But even if that is the case, it doesn't change the fact that PETA is objectifying women to get attention. (Yes. I know. Attention such as articles like this one. I am aware.)
This isn't the first time PETA has treated women like meat to get people to stop eating it. PETA has a long history of using "conventionally attractive" women as sexual tools to get their messages across. And "Veggie Love" is no different. Many more intelligent (and more gender appropriate) authors have tackled this issue. The main point with this ad is that it is offensive. To be strictly equal the ad could have at least objectified a few dudes.
Seriously PETA, you couldn't find one guy with a smoking hot six-pack to make out with a potato in the buff? More appropriately, PETA should have found a way to express its message that doesn't include any fantasy models enacting pornographic images with throbbing music in the background. I don't care how tongue in cheek PETA thinks its being. Super Bowl or no Super Bowl, "Veggie Love" is sexist.
But sex(ism) sells; and this ad is no different. Despite being rejected by NBC for a Super Bowl ad slot, "Veggie Love" is being talked about by everyone from Whoopi Goldberg on "The View" to the New York Times (Whoopi actually went as far as to re-enact the ad with a lettuce head because ABC refused to let "The View" air "Veggie Love").
This type of buzz is, of course, what PETA set out to accomplish with its risqué ad. Thanks to the Internet, a new type of marketing is quickly becoming popular. Called by some "parasite" or "leech-media tactics," the concept is simple: Create buzz for your product or message by creating a video that is controversial or provocative, release it online, watch it scream across the intertubes, and soon thereafter the corporate media.
PETA isn't the first to use leech-media tactics though. In fact, these types of videos were about the only thing Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign was good at. The campaign made sure that every offensive smear "ad" it created about Obama got covered by the corporate media outlets. " Celeb," " The One" and many others were videos that the campaign never actually aired on television because it didn't need to.