Six weeks after erecting the now infamous “Save the Whales” billboard, Peta has pulled it and replaced the signage with a toned down challenge ad which reads, “GONE Just like all the pounds lost by people who go vegetarian.” The ad was originally placed in Jacksonville, Florida, and read “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: go vegetarian” and was accompanied by a drawing of an overweight, bikini-clad woman.
Various media outlets covered the story and the Obesity Society issued a statement saying,
“This ad is an unmistakable example of stigma and prejudice against individuals who are overweight and obese. The campaign is disrespectful and offensive, and is not an effective or appropriate way to encourage vegetarianism or healthy eating behaviors.”
So the ad was replaced and we contacted Peta to ask why.
“By replacing the original artwork in the billboard, we’re able to give a fresh perspective on the issue and keep people talking about going veg to lose weight. We’re excited that so many people across the country have been motivated by the billboard…”
Peta is no stranger to making bold claims in hopes of drawing attention to its cause and has used the practice as a branding tool. It’s sort of genius, when you think about it. The cost of that single billboard has undoubtedly gotten them millions in free media exposure worldwide and today they’re going to get another bump for taking the ad down. Let this be a lesson to you: this behavior might seem crazy, ludicrous, assinine — but it works every time.
The new ad isn’t particularly effective, might we add. But that’s because it doesn’t need to be anything special. The copy could read something even more innocuous like, “Animals are friends, go vegan”. The creativity is in the media stir.