Offensive Ads: PETA's Shock Advertising by Vina Hsin

Reference: Buzzfeed The 12 Worst PETA Ads Of All Time (link:

Shock advertising: advertising that purposely shakes up and offends an audience by violating the social norms and personal ideals to deliver a message.

Why it is offensive

This ad appears that it is a woman, who looks like a stereotypical damsel in distress tied up in chains and the lower part of the body ripped to pieces. Besides her are pieces of meat from animals that are also hung up in chains. This subtly implies that she is of the same rankings as the animals and is the equivalent of a piece of meat.

Reference: Creme cuts of Meat

A piece of meat in our culture in slang terms, is a person being reduced to only physical characteristics of their body. The mind, the soul, the emotions that come with it are unimportant and ignored. In our cultural context, some of us may view dating apps like Tinder are the equivalent of a meat market, a "place just for hooking up", just to get a "piece of meat". We could also infer that this ad in some ways objectifies women.

Harmful effects of some PETA ads

Animal rights activists such as PETA use these ads to raise awareness on the poor treatment of animals. Their idea of animal cruelty is a good concept as there is a lot of discussion revolving around unethical actions involve causing unwanted pain in animals.

However, their ads seem to be misguided. It satirizes something very horrible in an insensitive way. They don't like how people objectify animals and degrade them, however, it is equally controversial when they objectify women in their ads. Their ads, publicity stunts, and commercials are almost always sexualize and mixed with some sort of violence. Sex appeal in their advertising and publicity stunts are apparent. If they could concentrate more on animals, rather than undressing women, and using sex for attention.

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2 years ago