Corporate Eye

PETA Advertising Strikes Out Again

I’m not a fan of shock advertising (I think it’s a cop out most of the time).  I’m also not a fan of PETA advertising and marketing.  In fact, I’ve written about my opinion related to PETA advertising before.  There are so many examples of PETA’s misguided marketing strategy (remember sea kittens or the banned Super Bowl ad?  I could go on and on.), but an outdoor billboard that PETA recently resurrected in the U.K. is yet another reminder of a marketing strategy gone awry (and that still has no clue how to connect with a broad audience).  Check it out below.


The PETA brand suffers from an exclusive message (and I don’t mean that in the “special” sense of the word — I mean the opposite of “inclusive”).  The PETA brand message is, “You’re either with us or against us.”  There is no half-way with PETA.  In the 21st century where relationship brands are becoming more and more important, this is the wrong strategy for PETA (or any other organization that wants to grow) to follow.

I also think that PETA suffers from delivering messages that aren’t believable.  One of the most important elements of marketing and copywriting is crafting messages that consumers will actually believe.  Gone are the days when consumers took words like “free” at face value.  The same can be said of extremist messages like PETA’s ‘meat makes kids fat’ message.  The masses don’t believe it.

I do believe there is merit to many of PETA’s fights, but extremist, exclusionary marketing is not helping the brand.  Check out the comments on this article from Brand Republic to see what people are saying about the billboard.

Your thoughts?

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.