Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why PETA Doesn't Get It

(Before we go any further, let's have some full disclosure: a juicy cheeseburger is one of life's simple yet wondrous pleasures, in our book.)

We men are simple creatures. It doesn't take much for us to be content. (According to Chris Rock, it only takes three things to do the trick.) Because of this, Madison Ave. constantly bombard us with ads featuring attractive women, in the hopes that we'll equate owning their product with the possibility of lovely ladies flocking to us. No dice. No Swedish Bikini Team in the world is making us drink any of that swill. (That I am a lifelong drinker of a cola once endorsed by Cindy Crawford and a fan of the '80s supermodel herself, IS A COINCIDENCE. Yes, really.) So the folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are not known for subtlety, decided to go for the Super Bowl crowd with a racy ad [see below], featuring gorgeous ladies in seductive lingerie, cavorting with pumpkins, broccoli, celery, etc. and exhorting us to "Go veg" while bad hair metal plays in the background. The ad was rejected by CBS, the network airing the game, and PETA were said to be surprised. I'm more baffled by the organization's cluelessness in this whole matter.

Where to start?

First of all, after the whole Janet Jackson fiasco of a few years back, they had to know CBS would be skittish about this kind of ad. Second, you can try to convince men to consume your version of whatever product they already have a predisposition for. But veggies to a Super Bowl crowd? Put as many hot, scantily clad women as you want in that ad, carnivores are not giving up tangible steaks and burgers for a fantasy chick, no matter how hot. Third--and this is a very personal one that has nothing to do with why the ad didn't air--while I respect the noble intent which fuels PETA, it has been my experience that militant animal lovers hold people in a much lower regard than those they advocate for. It is underscored by this ad, which both objectifies women in the most heavy-handed of ways and shows off their contempt for the intended audience most blatantly. (At least the beer companies are good at it.) This is the equivalent of the equally dumb Carl's Jr ad featuring Paris Hilton, of a few years back. Is that what you were aiming for PETA?

Here's a free tip: we red-blooded, hetero males don't find offense in being considered horn dogs, but no one likes to be thought of as stupid.

UPDATE: It has been suggested to me that perhaps PETA was never interested in getting their over-the-top ad shown during the Super Bowl, but just wanted to reap the benefits of the publicity the situation would bring. Fine. Still, not a great idea.

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