As one blonde woman throws off her jacket and proceeds to caress some asparagus, drawing it down her stomach and toward her crotch, another scantily-clad woman licks a pumpkin. Yet another toys seductively with some broccoli. As crappy faux-metal music plays, words flash across the screen: "Studies show vegetarians have better sex." The message is clear: ladies love their vegetables.
The general consensus is that PETA never intended the ad to be run, that they never wanted to pay NBC the $3 million. The Washington Post reports that PETA asked NBC for a list of things they would have to do to make their ad suitable for TV. Out of courtesy, NBC sent the animal rights organization a letter with a list of edits that would have to be made before the "Veggie Love" ad could be shown in primetime. PETA then used the letter to garner more publicity; there is now a link on their website that reads: "Read NBC's Sexually Explicit Rejection E-Mail."
So to sum up: The entire ad is a giant stunt, one that simultaneously exploits women and gets a ton of publicity for PETA. It's a rather ingenious move, one which saves PETA $3 million (although, the number of people who watch the ad online is still probably nowhere near the number of viewers they would have had during the Super Bowl). And this is only the latest in a series of stupid stunts by PETA. The Economist ran a scathing piece on Monday about PETA's sea kitten campaign, which is clearly aimed at children, and uses scare tactics to get kids away from eating fish. In a "bedtime story" on their website, PETA plays up the dangers of mercury, while ignoring the many health benefits that come from eating fish — benefits that a British parliamentary committee called "crucial" to the growth and development of children. PETA is also no stranger to exploiting women for its own gain; they frequently use nude protesters, and not just in their "I'd rather go naked" ads. PETA has responded to criticism about its sexist practices by arguing that, since the organization is run by a woman, they could not possibly be accused of sexism.
The Super Bowl ad has already made the rounds online, with quite a few bloggers weighing in. The writers at Animal New York expressed their disbelief quite clearly:
This is of course complete cow manure. PETA submitted this spot for one reason—the disapproval publicity NBC's rejection is generating (this post included). No, they'd sooner go on a fox hunt riding bulls with their bodies smeared in rabbit blood then waste $3 million on 30 seconds of TV ad time.
And AdRants asks:
Doesn't NBC understand PETA played them? That a trap was clearly set and NBC walked straight into it?
The whole strategy, of course, is to contend NBC allows ads for unhealthy junk food from the lies of KFC but won't allow ads encouraging, in PETA's opinion, a healthier lifestyle. Well, PETA, how about an ad that just said that instead of an ad which depicts women having sex with vegetable?
Over at AdFreak, David writes, in a post aptly titled "NBC won't you please take PETA's money?":
Instead of being prudish, I wish NBC had accepted the ad, charged PETA $3 million and put those whining whale watchers outta business when they couldn't pay. Then we could all wear fur coats, eat veal and watch football in peace.
Unfortunately, this is one of those frustrating times when we all want to ignore PETA, but find ourselves giving them exactly what they wanted: more attention. It is almost impossible to not discuss their sexist advertising and obnoxious antics. We're all for animal rights, but PETA has shown time and again that they are not particularly concerned with the treatment of women.
Veggie Tales, It's Not: PETA's Super Bowl Ad Is Too Much For NBC To Stomach [Washington Post]
Deep-Fried Kittens: PETA's Dangerous New Campaign [The Economist]
PETA Pawns NBC With Go-Daddy Style Banned Ad Strategy [AdRants]
NBC, won't you please take PETA's money? [AdFreak]
PETA's Latest Super Bowl Publicity Stunt [Animal New York]