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No ‘Veggie Love’ for the Super Bowl: Banned PETA Ad Sticks it to the Man

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), that venerable old gadfly to the meat-eating, animal-testing, inhumane masses once again wants to be seen and heard. As the name would suggest, PETA is a longstanding animal rights organization that might be best known for their “Go Naked” campaign targeting those drawn to wearing fur, along with their multiple consumer boycotts and crafty publicity stunts to draw attention to animal cruelty. As far as fighting the good fight, PETA has been there for over 30 years bringing animal welfare and animal rights into the national conversation. But with what has become almost an annual tradition, PETA has attempted to break in, or break through, to that most unsympathetic and bloodthirsty audience – the Super bowl viewer.

Two years ago, PETA submitted a television ad, intended to run during the Super Bowl (any idea what 30 seconds of airtime costs during the Super Bowl? $3 million is the current estimate) called “Veggie Love” depicting a collection of top model looking women and their amorous relationship to vegetables, with the tagline “Vegetarians Have Better Sex.” The ad was summarily rejected by NBC and never broadcast because it (as stated by NBC) “depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards.” See video below (Note: there are depictions of sexuality and vegetables):


‘Veggie Love’: PETA’s Banned Super Bowl Ad

PETA is again trying to provoke (and inform) with their follow up ad, which is more of a budget version of the first attempt, titled “Veggie Love Casting Call.” This is the low rent version of the previous ad (and said to be the actual audition tape for the original ad) but treads similar ground – veggies, sexy bikini-clad women, and a pro-veggie, pro-sexy message. The odds are this one will never see the light of game time, nor will it have half a chance to titillate, nor change the minds of the largely carnivorous Super Bowl audience.

PETA courts controversy, there is no doubt about that, but I have to question whether this campaign is the most effective use of their time and money? Even if the ad were broadcast, it is hard to imagine that the millions of Super Bowl viewers will see it as anything more profound than the flashing of Janet Jackson’s right breast. The viewers (men and women alike) will see it as a flash of sexuality and shenanigans, not unlike the rest of the 135 ads that run between plays. A PETA spokesperson said about the ad, “We’re using a fun and sexy way to get a very serious point across: Going vegan is best thing you can do for animals, the planet, your health, and your sex life.” The jury is out on this one. And it is hardly worth noting the level of hypocrisy exhibited by NBC on this one – citing too much sexuality coming from the network that proudly runs shows like “Friends with Benefits,” and “Lipstick Jungle.”

No doubt the issues that PETA endeavors to bring into the public conscience are worth noting and paying attention (animal welfare, animal cruelty, and the detrimental effects of a meat-laden diet). However, are they just preaching to the diverted? Is there a better way to get Joe Football on the side of the vegan elite? Can sex actually sell this concept?

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

143 comments

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1:46AM PDT on Jun 19, 2012

Brucie, get a grip. The Super Bowl is LONG over with. When "ads" are deemed unsuitble for the audience, the network has the right to not air them. Exploiting women and borderline PORN is not acceptable to the general audience, nor would it be to those attending or watching the Super Bowl, which includes children. If you, as an adult wish to view porn, feel free. There are dozens of channels on your TV that have it available to you.

BTW, not all "Ads" submitted for viewing during the Super Bowl make it. There is limited time available, so guess what? They choose the ones most likely to appeal to everyone and generate sales. The "Ads" are very costly and I guess you lack the ability to comprehend that anything that appeals to only one sector, and are either religious or political in nature will NOT be acceptable.

7:01AM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

IF NBC wouldn't show PETA's ad, maybe the FCC should re-evaluate NBC's license?

2:30PM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

Thanks

5:29PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Thanks for posting!

11:33AM PDT on May 9, 2011

WTF! Way to go PETA--promote vegetarianism by objectifying women--great strategy!

7:24PM PDT on Apr 2, 2011

I can understand why they believed the ad might have been effective in at least making vegetables seem more attractive. Many ads go the sex appeal route and are seemingly effective. However, it is disgusting that they would perpetuate objectification of women. I suppose the message is animals are more important than people. They either don't care about women or are being lazy and following the societal norm instead of creating more enlightened ads.

3:35AM PDT on Mar 30, 2011

This is supposed to be "better sex" . Than what? This video really wouldn't make me want to be a vegetarian. Masturbation with vegetables? No thanks.
Bloody waste of donated money!

2:29PM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

PETA disgusts me. They want to help animals, yet they use women as sex objects to try and sell their point. I'm sure you can support animal rights without doing such damage to the rights of women.

4:50PM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

Bill, if your comment wasn't so asinine, I'd give you a bit more time and respect, but it's pretty obvious that you weren't capable of understanding what was said in the first place. PeTA is the last place I'd ever waste a red cent of my money. I do donate money to worthy causes, of which PeTA is not qualified to be included. How can anyone "rationale" come back with a remark like giving $20 to an organization I despise suggest that I hold THEM responsible for what I do, since I'm not the one found guilty of fire-bombing a research lab (proven fact and she's still doing time), nor having set free 250 mink to die horrible deaths, NOR any of the other documented cases described in dozens of websites on the internet (Google them!). As for adult discussins and playground taunts, I'm not playing your game, nor as many of your type does, resorting to taunts. You've proven your mentality, so nothing more needs to be said. I am saddened by those individuals who are misguided and think that PeTA genuinely does care for animals and does any good as far as animal welfare is concerned, joins or contributes money. The number of former members who have "outed" PeTA is staggering as to the atrocities they've committed in the "name" of "animal rights" (they don't believe in animal welfare at all).

9:39AM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

oh wow, so you send in your $20 to PETA and now everything you do they are responsible for? are you for real? stick to taunts on the school playground if you can't handle an adult discussion.

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