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Is PETA’s use of nudity going too far?

By September 23, 2008January 10th, 202113 Comments

Whether you support their cause or not, it’s impossible to ignore PETA.

Their undercover investigations and campaigns are orchestrated across all media—advertising, PR, events, and social media are all a part of the mix—and most are integrated quite well.

The way they get attention is always controversial, and they’ve taken on some of the titans of industry, including McDonalds, Ralph Lauren, Coca-Cola, Petco, Pilgrum’s Pride, General Motors, Tyson and others. I wrote about their Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign in February.

One of PETA’s enduring campaigns, The Naked Truth, features nude models, celebrities and athletes often with the headline, “I’d rather go naked than wear fur.” It works because the headline and image work so powerfully together—and because the images and associated controversy creates buzz.

PETA learned sex sells and now uses nudity in most of their campaigns, even the ones not related to fur. Nudity appears to be a PETA branding element. It’s a theme used across all mediums, documented in the PETA Files naked archives.

A recent campaign encourages going vegan, and features Alicia Silverstone. You’ll notice there doesn’t appear to be any connection between what’s said and the fact she’s nude.

Here’s the ad:

Alicia Silverstone bares all for PETA

And the video:

Love ’em or hate ’em, PETA’s undercover reporting and controversial tactics work.

But has their use of nudity gone too far?

What do you think?

Comment below to weigh in.

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Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • Pseudonon says:

    Yes. But that’s just me.

  • Yes, they are taking it a little too far..but as long as they are using spokes people such as Alicia to deliver the message, then am I not going to get too upset…it’s when Rosie O’Donnell or the likes start getting on board, that I will really object!

  • Jeff says:

    They may go too far in other ways, but what I have seen has been tasteful and too the point. I’d rather see them do this to get attention than deface people’s property (eg., throwing red paint on people wearing fur or vandalizing stores that sell animal products)

  • Larry says:

    Disruptive advertising is certainly the mode of the day. It’s getting harder to rise above the clatter of messaging. I don’t think Alicia’s nudity supports the messaging in any way other than to be disruptive visually. The ads are tasteful – but do they really do anything to further the brand’s cause other than gain ogling attention? Great advertising, poor branding in my opinion.

  • The message is lost in all that skin and amazonian music; I don’t remember anything she said, but I’m pretty sure she wants to have sex with me.

    A better idea would have been to place her naked atop a galloping cow, shouting — in a sexy voice — “Ride the meat, don’t eat it!”

    The campaign would be called, “Lady PETIVA.”

  • I abide by European attitudes towards nudity: it’s the human body — it can be a beautiful thing, and it’s only “obscene” if you treat it that way. It’s not the nudity that matters, it’s what you do with it, and I don’t see this spot degrading in any way. The semi-nude Abercrombie & Fitch ads are more vulgar and exploitative than this. With the amount of nudity on HBO and on the Internet, this is really no big deal.

    As for marketing, I think it’s a great move by PETA. Alicia Silverstone looks great, which counters perceptions that vegetarians are unhealthy. She also brings the brand closer to the mainstream, so that PETA is seen as more Humane Society and less a hangout for hirsute vegan anarchists.

    And if she weren’t nude, would any of us be talking about the ad? It’s all about, um, exposure…

  • I look at her and think, I need to stop eating meat… Then I can lie around naked too.

  • Deston says:

    To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, there’s nothing wrong with nudity as long as the right people are nude.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s not killing me any to see it. Of course the lamb I dined on last night was most succulent.

  • Ed says:

    Well their advertising can’t be working all that way. I like their idea of using nudity to promote an idea but I’ve never heard of them. Never seen one of their adverts, never seen them on television or heard of them on the radio.

    Of course it’s going to take one hell of a lot more than nudity to put me off bacon sandwiches…and steak…and barbeque chicken…and spicy meatballs…and crispy beef…

    They’ve got no chance!

  • I always support the cause of PETA.,*”

  • Ich bin nicht der Meinung dass man jedem Modetrend folgen muss. Auch nicht so teure Kleidung kann modisch sein. Was einige Läden für einen Pulli verlangen, blos weil Diesel aufgedruckt ist finde ich krank.

  • Salman says:

    I’d keep on gazing @ Alicia coz she was my teenage ‘clueless’ crush but won’t convince me not to eat meat due to 3 reasons:
    1. I’m not sure if she is truly a non- veg or just making it up for the ad
    2. Even if she is… I don’t agree with the idea that eating meat will cause some harm to me or the nature
    3. I don’t want to give up on my unique status of being the only specie in the world which has a digestive sys to accommodate both types of food.
    So I take the nudity with me & leave the message back,,, meaning by,,, poor advertising

  • Shamu says:

    This is so unacceptable. They have gone too far in everything. They want to ban pet ownership, They said ” If a rat’s life was sacrificed to cure AIDS, they would be against it.” They said to replace whales and dolphins with robots ( WTF ) AND THEY ARE HYPOCRITES!! THEY KILL 95% OF ANIMALS THAT ARE TAKEN INTO THEIR SHELTER!!!

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