PETA Turns to Emoji for a Seriously Cartoony Take on Animal Abuse

Cruelty to characters

Headshot of T.L. Stanley

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, well known for its naked celebrity spokespeople and shockvertising, takes a slightly less controversial approach in a new campaign breaking this week.

In video and print ads, PETA tells a story of animal cruelty entirely in emoji, with hammers, hypodermics and handguns making short work of adorable bunnies, monkeys and tigers. Semi-spoiler alert: They turn into skeletons at the end, but there's no actual carnage depicted. Still, it's a PETA ad, so there will be blood, albeit cartoonish this time.

The nonprofit group said it went the iconic route because this campaign is aimed at the young, a demo who likely wouldn't be able to identify Pamela Anderson, clothed or not. The ads come from Los Angeles agency BPG with an assist from Waterfall Mobile for an emoji-based texting feature that allows people to donate money to the cause.

The campaign is running in national magazines and on PETA's blog and website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts. What do you think, readers? Thumbs up or face punch?

Credits below.


Client: PETA

Agency: BPG Agency

Chief Creative Officer: Steph Sebbag

Group Creative Director, Art Director: Frank Dattalo

Copywriter: Kevin Samuels

Creative Director: Ryan Hunnewell

Editing Company: Cut+Run

Editors: Steve Gandolfi, Sean Fazende

Managing Director: Michelle Eskin

Executive Producer: Carr Schilling

Senior Producer: Amburr Farls

Visual Effects: David Parker, Cut+Run

Senior Producer: Liz Lydecker

Music: Finger Music and Sound Design

@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.