For the RCL post this week we’ve been assigned to pick an advocacy campaign and argue whether or not they use persuasion or propaganda.

The first advocacy campaign that came to mind was People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or more commonly known as Peta. For awhile now, there has been mixed feelings about this particular advocacy campaign. It cannot be refuted that this organization strives for an excellent goal: better treatment of animals.  However, looking at purely advertisements, this advocacy group has run into major resentment from the public and,now, are known for having atrocious ads.

Below are just a few of the most shocking advertisements endorsed by Peta:









It can be seen from even these examples that Peta uses propaganda to sway the opinion of their audience rather than persuasion. Not only are many of these ads tactless, but many of them aren’t true to the facts, such as the “Got Autism?” ad which linked drinking milk to having autism. Peta’s advertisements continually use female body image to attract attention as well as  celebrity endorsers. The purpose of these ads is to grab the viewer’s attention, no matter in what way. While Peta is trying to send an ethical message to the public about the maltreatment of animals and gain support for their cause, their propaganda turns most away from the advocacy group. Many people disagree with their ads and find them highly offensive. Unfortunately, because of this, Peta has now become the butt of a few jokes and has even lost some support from the public. Their use of propaganda has affected their image in the public’s eye. For many people, when they think of Peta, they think of the organization’s bold propaganda rather than the good deeds they are trying to accomplish. Most of their ads are not reliable and, therefore, make the advocacy campaign unreliable.

Maybe if Peta used persuasion instead of propaganda they would have a much better reputation and many more supporters.


2 thoughts on “Peta.

  1. Kat-
    I can see your concern. Preaching about the unethicality of eating meat or abusing animals for the aim of feeding humans is one thing, but simultaneously objectifying women is another. I think it’s the latter that makes the this campaign particularly unethical. Now whether this objectification is just tasteless patriarchal advertising or merely playing off the media tendency to display women as objects and trying to incite indignation among people for having “their” women portrayed in a slightly different demeaning way, I don’t know.
    Perhaps Peta turned to these more disturbing types of images because the ads they were producing before were ineffective. Of course, these efforts appear to have backfired, though. I’m not trying to defend the organization, but I’m curious as to what their thought process was with this ad campaign.
    Thanks for posting this!

  2. I definitely agree on your take of Peta’s campaign strategies. They go too far to get people to go vegan and “save the animals”, when I am sure that if they were so crazy people wouldn’t make jokes about them all of the time. Also, a semi-serious question: would Peta force animals to stop eating each other if they could? Because they try to force an unnatural diet on humans, so why not do that for other species too?

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