PETA is not new to controversy; in fact that seems to be their bread and (vegan) butter. We’ve seen the “your daddy kills animals” campaign targeted at fishermen. That campaign led to a lot of emotionally charged controversy because it targeted young kids, asking them to doubt their fishermen-fathers. Then there was the provocative “veggie love” that was banned by Superbowl. It was deemed “too hot”. Given that the ad featured women with suggestively placed vegetables because they were “too powerless to resist veggie love”, it was hardly a big surprise. And then there is the classic: “I’d rather go naked than wear fur”. The two latter campaigns however provocative earned a lot of media space and were mostly well received because they were, in short, funny.
The shock value of the PETA campaigns is very obviously deliberate. And for the most part, it works. The ads have generated public viewership and interest on a pretty large scale. They are featured on TV and print media and then are hotly discussed and debated on various forums. We get the basic message: veganism is sexy, killing animals is not. Risqué is cool, but the latest campaign seems more foot in mouth than cheeky. It brings up an entirely different social issue and seemingly trivializes it; moreover, it might contradict with the image that PETA has been building over the years.
The new campaign features a woman in neck braces, with bruises on her arms and knees, walking with great pain. “BWVAKTBOOM” or “Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom Out of Me” basically conveys that the boys who turned vegan had such an increase in sex drive that their girlfriends had to get hurt. Oh, cool. So veganism is now connected to domestic violence? Way to go PETA, it takes a special kind of genius to spend on advertisement that goes against your own message. Unless, of course, wife beating is suddenly socially acceptable. And sexy.
Written by Ipsita Gauba for Image Management