The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals don’t shy away from controversy. In fact, the group seems to thrive on advertising that gets public attention. If that means putting a naked woman on a billboard or in a cage, showcasing a shark with a swimmer’s bloody leg hanging out of its mouth, or comparing the deaths of animals for food production to the millions of people killed in the Holocaust to get PETA’s message some media attention, then so be it.
PETA explained to BlissTree that the more shocking the ad campaign the more likely it is that the organization will be talked about in the media. As long as the media is talking about the group it is gaining free advertising. It doesn’t matter if the media is talking about them in a good, bad or indifferent light. People will still be talking about them and for every person that finds a PETA campaign offensive there is another person willing to donate to the groups main causes.
Lindsay Rajt, Associate Director of Campaign’s for PETA, told BlissTree, “Over time, we’ve learned that these provocative and controversial campaigns tend to get picked up a lot more, and tend to get talked about a lot more.”
Rajt says that she thinks the reasons it uses such controversial advertising is that, “unlike our opposition that is mostly composed of very wealthy organizations, like the meat industry and the fur industry, we have to work a little harder to get our message out, because we don’t have millions and millions to spend.”
Questions that often pop up when discussing PETA is why do they so often use naked women in their ad campaigns and does the organization place more value on animals than humans? Rajt claims that she always finds these questions interesting since most of the staff and the president of PETA are women and that all of the women that appear in the ads are volunteers.
She also claims that, “a lot of other people who are critical of that tactic [naked women campaigns] maybe don’t notice how much we use men in our ads, too.”
PETA does more than just create controversial and sometimes offensive ads. It attempts to give people critical information about veganism, government policies, food safety, and animal abuses that are being committed by factory farms, in laboratories, in the clothing trade and in the entertainment industry. The main goal of the organization is to fight for the rights of animals all over the world.