We all know that it’s important to eat our vegetables, but has PETA’s controversial Super Bowl 2011 commercial gone too far? The controversial ad, which has been making the rounds on the internet, depicts lingerie-clad women performing in a sexually suggestive way with vegetables before claiming that studies show vegetarians have better sex. Setting aside PETA’s habitual willingness to objectify women and the dubiousness of any study that aims to assess the quality of vegetarians’ erotic lives (I’m guessing the researchers weren’t from Johns Hopkins Medical School or anything.), does this ad represent a new low in advertising?
Not really, because PETA never wanted to get the ad onto the air in first place. That would cost a lot of money. Instead, they made an ad they knew would be rejected and hoped to get everyone talking about it. And that’s exactly what’s happening (I know, I’m guilty of feeding the hype. At least I’m not linking to it. Cut me some slack.). I wonder if a few Go Daddy ads from Super Bowls past were trying to use this approach and failed and actually got stuck paying to run their strangely un-rejected ads.
What’s so disheartening about this is what it reveals about PETA. I’m not a vegetarian now, but I’ve been one in the past and I have plenty of friends who are, so I’m not unsympathetic to the goal of trying to get people to eat less meat or none at all. But I think PETA knows in their heart of hearts that showing up in someone’s living room and saying “Your love life sucks” isn’t going to win many friends. If it did, you’d see a lot more car and beer ads take that approach. I get the feeling that PETA cares more about feeling superior to meat-eaters than convincing them.
Image: Arnaud 25