If PETA had their way about it, there wouldn’t be any animals used in video or film production, and when companies make ads of animals being “mistreated” they fly into a rage. Companies could make PETA happy by staying away from animals in their advertising. However, many companies are actually using PETA’s backlash to get more publicity and to launch their video campaigns into the viral arena.
One of my favorite examples of a company besting PETA to get even more coverage for their viral video campaign is that of Dodge and the invisible monkey. Back in August, Dodge released a commercial to promote the Dodge Tent Event and it featured a monkey in a little costume.
PETA said that, “Most top ad agencies in the country won’t even consider producing an ad featuring a great ape these days given the well-documented abuse that young chimpanzees and orangutans suffer in the entertainment industry…Dodge isn’t going to dodge a bullet on this one. It needs to pull the ad – and we’ve contacted the company asking it to do just that.”
Well, Dodge didn’t pull the ad. They did, however, pull the monkey from the ad. They kept the ad exactly the same, but digitally erased the monkey and at the end of the commercial they announce, “There’s an invisible monkey!” instead of “There’s a monkey!” The slap to the face that Dodge gave PETA with the “remake” of their commercial got them a lot more coverage than they would have received otherwise.
Over the last couple of weeks, Bundaberg rum has come out with a series of tongue-in-cheek ads that seem to me to have been created purposely to piss of PETA and other animal activist groups. The original ad features a guy on the golf course. His ball falls right next to a crocodile and he is about to give up when the inventors of Bundaberg rum arrive on the scene and persuade the golfer to blow up the crocodile.
I think it’s pretty clear that animal rights activists would have a field day with this video, so Bundaberg issued an apology. Or did they? In their “heartfelt” apology video, Bundaberg lets viewers know that the crocodile in the ad was not harmed in the slightest. However, he says that the crocodile did die the next day. We see the croc being roasted on a spit, while the actor calls for “more marinade!”
And if that apology wasn’t bad enough, Bundaberg released an apology for their apology video. Of course, they would never really feast on a crocodile! But would they turn its skin into a set of luggage? Perhaps.
More so than the Dodge ad, when I see the Bundaberg ad I get the feeling that they created all three of these videos at once, in anticipation for the reactions that would come. They knew PETA’s history, along with other animal activists, and they decided to create an offensive campaign and run with it. I look forward to seeing whether they’ll put out an apology for their apology for their apology, though I don’t know what else they could do to the crocodile now that he’s a set of luggage.
What do you think of the idea of brands taking advantage of PETA’s sensitivity in their ad campaigns? Is it a dirty tactic or a great way to get coverage?