Posted by Abe Sauer on January 26, 2010 05:06 PM
PETA's 2010 State of the Union Undress (Safe for Work Version)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a new awareness commercial out to coincide with President Obama's state of the union address. Can you guess what the theme of the commercial is? If you said "nudity," give yourself a gold star.
PETA's Presidential stripper video is just one of the brand's recent moves to leverage nudity for attention (SFW). In the last couple months alone, PETA campaigns have featured stars from the reality TV series "Real Housewives of New York" and "Dancing with the Stars" and porn superstar Sasha Grey. PETA has been doing this for years, but does it really benefit the brand?
The animal rights organization's "I'd Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur" campaign, featuring well-known men and women in various degrees of undress, is now well into its second decade. Based on the "sex sells" ideal, the goal of the campaign is to draw attention to PETA's values, but it raises a number of questions -- particularly for those of us interested in brand management.
Fundamentally, the campaign employs the same tactics beer companies have used for years, but is this the right approach for PETA? Is the audience who can identify a porn star going to care about PETA? Or, is the kind of person who enjoys ogling naked women going to care about the plight of a lemur?
The strategy does effectively garner attention for PETA. So well done. Even better, the sexy videos serve as a gateway platform to the many investigative videos of animal mistreatment -- which are the real conversion tools for PETA's brand. Lust comes and goes, but disgust is forever. Curious visitors may access the PETA website for the nudity, but they stayed for the horrific spectacle that is the "Ringling's Baby Elephants Tied Up and Electro-Shocked by Trainers" video. (Warning: Disturbing, natch.)
The general public is obsessed with nudity and celebrity, so credit PETA for sticking to the basics. Also, the brand knows that celebrities will always volunteer for a photo op that puts their personal brand on a public stage where prudish news outlets will predictably report about the vulgar, naked ad campaign they cannot show you.
PETA, in other words, caters to our basic, animal instincts.