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Published by Patrick Miller

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Published by: Patrick Miller on Dec 04, 2012
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Patrick MillerDr. Erin Dietel-McLaughlinWR 133005 October 2012
PETA’s Manipulative Ways
 Messages are more appealing when they come in the form of women simulating sex with
vegetables than when a bucket of imitation blood is flung at you from five feet away. It’s a fact
of life. Apparently, PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Anima
ls, didn’t get that
memo until a couple of years ago. PETA has done many things over their 32-year existence totry to convince people to abstain from eating meat, not wear clothes made of fur, and treatanimals ethically, but many of those forms of advertising included making more enemies thanfriends. Recently, PETA discovered a new way of advertising: sexual appeal to men. Theyconstructed a rhetorical video portraying women having sex with vegetables, intending toconvince men to stop eating meat and turn to vegetarianism. According to James Herrick,
rhetoric is “the systematic study and intentional practice of effective symbolic expression”
(Herrick, 7)
. By his definition, PETA’s Super Bowl ads clearly can be defined as rhetorical, as
they use females in a sexual manner to promote the ethical treatment of animals. Overall,
PETA’s Super Bowl ad
s are more rhetorically appealing than their personalized persuasionattempts.Both
PETA’s
Super Bowl ad and their personalized attacks seek to persuade a certainaudience about the benefits of vegetarianism and the ethical treatment of animals. However, interms of effectiveness of persuading those people that they target, the Super Bowl ads are farmore effective. In general, the Super Bowl ads are able to target a much wider audience at a
 
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single given time, and it stays online for anyone to go back and watch at any given time. Forconvenience sake alone, this makes it more popular than being personally lambasted for whatyou are wearing or eating. Regardless of what the advertisement even shows, these two reasonsalready make the Super Bowl ads more rhetorically appealing, as it spares public humiliation andis generally convenient for people.Since the Super Bowl ads will inevitably draw more viewers than individual acts byPETA members, PETA brilliantly creates ads each year that cannot be forgotten. For the past
couple years, they have created controversial ads with the marketing slogan “vegetarians have better sex.”
This campaign is seemingly directed at men, as a recent study by Dr. BrianMustanski showed that a man can think about sex up to 388 times in a single day. With this inmind, PETA creates ads each year with women dressed in lingerie using vegetables inprovocative ways in order to spark immediate interest from men. The use of sex as a marketingtool may seem like almost a last ditch attempt by PETA to gain respect and influence people, andit certainly is a stretch from their main mission of protecting animal rights, but at the same time,
it is a completely logical step to take for them to take. Men want sex. It’s that simple. PETA,
realizing this, based an entire marketing campaign around it in order to get their message acrossand make their name relevant again. By utilizing this desire that is natural to the majority of 
men, PETA has been able to, at the very least, get their name back out there in a way that isn’t
associated with extremely negative actions.Another reason this advertising campaign is particularly effective comparatively is that itprovides an alternative solution for what they are trying to eliminate. Behind the sexual veil of women and vegetables, PETA is hoping that the message gets across to men that meat is themain problem in their sex lives. By saying that vegetarians have better sex, they are providing
 
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an alternative that is very doable for most people, switching from meat to vegetables. Most menwho currently eat meat would not consider switching over to vegetarianism unless prompted bysomething extremely relevant in their lives. By linking meat to a poorer sex life, men are likelyto feel more inclined to at least give vegetarianism a chance, if for nothing else than to see if hissex life improves noticeably, which is all PETA wants.PETA markets their Super Bowl ads very intelligently. They know that the content theyare trying to put onto television during one of the most watched events in the world isinappropriate, yet they do it anyway. Each year, they allow it to get banned from the SuperBowl, making people curious as to what it contains, drawing attention to it. The intentionallyprovocative ads both draw attention from the media and serve as a point of conversation betweenpeers, spreading the message quickly and efficiently. With their message packed into a 30-second ad that is as provocative as it is, it is unlikely to be forgotten by anyone who has watchedit, making the thought of whether vegetarians have better sex than carnivores remain. Even if themajority of people do not act upon hearing this claim, having it remain in ones mind can lead tofuture vegetarianism or spreading the idea to friends who might then try it for themselves.Because of their provocative ad, PETA is able to spread their message quickly and without mucheffort of their own.On the other hand, PETA also sends members to the streets to attempt to personally
convince random people to support them. This isn’t as effective as the Super Bowl ads,
primarily because the audience is much smaller. Compared to the Super Bowl ads, which getmillions of views over time, individual members of PETA can only talk to a handful of peopleeach day. That means it would take years for these personal persuasions to equal the amount of people affected by one Super Bowl ad. In addition, the forms of which these members of PETA

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