People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is the world’s largest animal rights organization. It currently has more than 3 million members and supporters from all corners of the globe. PETA is an American organization with headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. They are known for aggressive marketing campaigns, and even utilizing the popularity of celebrities to get their message across. Among the list of PETA celebrity endorsers include Stella McCartney, Drew Barrymore, Pamela Anderson, Alec Baldwin, and Alicia Silverstone, who have all appeared in PETA ads, some of which have been very controversial.
PETA marketing campaigns always include a documentation of the conditions showing how animals are treated in various conditions, with the intention of shedding light to what would otherwise be considered as normal social practices or lifestyles where people don’t realize that animals are being brutally killed in order to bring them things we use on a daily basis.
Looking back, PETA has come up with a number of creative marketing strategies over the years
One of PETA’s most popular marketing campaigns is the “Fur is Dead” campaign, where celebrities posed naked with a caption that read “Rather go naked than wear fur”. PETA used the campaign to gain social awareness on the brutal killing of animals for the fashion industry for the use of fur, and to convince retailers to stop selling fur. Popular Hollywood celebrities and supermodels participated in the campaign, including Christina Applegate, Kim Basinger, Pamela Anderson, and Dominique Swain, among others.
On top of the celebrity ads, the campaign also involved the PETA team disrupting fashion shows in some of the world’s biggest fashion capitals including Tokyo, Milan, Paris, Moscow, Hong Kong, and Montreal. PETA also integrated anti-leather and anti-wool campaigns, and in the process was able to convince more than 40 companies to stop supporting these inhumane and illegal practices.
Ever since PETA’s inception in the 1980’s, its main focus was promoting a vegetarian lifestyle. The organization wanted to show the world the cruelty that happens behind closed doors to bring people the meat that is on their tables, as well as the health risks involved in eating meat. They also have a KFC campaign urging people to stop supporting KFC, which utilizes barbaric practices such as defeathering tanks and chickens being scalded. To promote vegetarianism, PETA has come out with numerous informational tools, which include a Vegetarian Starter Kit. The website also showcases vegetarian recipes, a list of vegetarian-friendly products to support, and even an online shopping guide which provides useful information on newbie vegetarians on how to navigate the grocery – a place which can be overwhelming for someone who has just decided to stop eating meat. PETA even has a video narrated by Paul McCartney, discussing cruel practices behind meat production.
Beauty Without Bunnies Campaign
PETA was a revolutionary player in convincing companies to stop animal testing on their products. It was successful, as Benetton permanently banned animal testing while hundreds of other companies began using the phrases “not tested on animals” and “cruelty free” were included in the packaging of various personal care items. Today, participating brands can even become members of the Beauty without Bunnies campaign if they sign PETA’s statement of assurance, as proof that they adhere to animal-friendly business practices and operations. The program also explores procedures that don’t involve animal testing, as well as provides information on testing practices of various companies.
While the campaign initially targeted cosmetics companies, they eventually turned their focus to the food and beverage industry, in particular as a response to Coca Cola’s history of cruel animal testing practices of which chimpanzees were victimized. Eventually, major companies agreed to permanently stop animal testing in all of their operations.
Peta2: The PETA Youth Division
Established in 2002, the PETA youth division utilizes what they see to be one of the most important catalysts of change in animal rights issues. Label Networks, a research firm focused on youth culture, revealed that PETA is the number one group for 13 to 24 year olds to participate in. Peta2 provides information to the youth by appearing at music festivals and concerts, and even partnering with famous animal-friendly bands, clothing brands, and even athletes. They captured the attention of the youth through engaging public service announcements and held contests where participants can win prizes, including items autographed by artists.
The peta2 website was also launched as a medium to regularly communicate with the youth and inform them of the latest updates. The site receives hundreds of hits per week, and the team also utilizes social network groups to get their audiences to participate. Peta2 has their own significant achievements; which in 2007 include successfully getting Forever 21 to permanently stop selling fur in all their establishments. Gadzooks, another clothing store, later merged with Forever 21, also stopped selling fur. In the same year, peta2 disseminated information about the sale of foie gras in Giant Eagle grocery stores, after which the company received more than 250,000 letters as well as phone calls from local citizens which pushed the grocery chain to completely stop selling the product in all their stores.
Regulatory Testing Campaign
The regulatory testing campaign seeks to create awareness and fight required animal testing from regulatory agencies around the world including the Food and Drug Administration. These cruel practices to animals involve forcing animals to consume poisonous substances in order to test for the toxicity of various products including pesticides, chemicals, and even medications.
Accomplishments of this initiative include saving over 800,000 animals in 1999, through negotiations with the White House about the high production volume testing program. PETA also sent 50,000 letters to Congress to amend the EPA Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, which originally intended to abolish thousands of animals in the testing process. In addition to this, PETA also donated $1 million to develop safe and efficient non-animal testing procedures for which they were awarded from the Institute for In Vitro Sciences because they provided larger donations, that were even bigger than the contributions of multinational companies.
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