PETA's top five most offensive (and most sexist) ads

It's been clear for quite some time that we don't fancy PETA ads around here. Nudity for attentions sake is nothing but a cheap trick that PETA loves to employ. What's more, PETA are deceptive in both their advertising and the origins of the creative ads, for example that "hot dinner" vegetarian ad with the sexy food isn't an original PETA rejected from the 2002 superbowl, but an ad created by the Vegetarian Society UK in 1998 - caffeinegoddess busted that fib wide open years ago.

We can argue wether using sexy and misogynist images to get attention is justifiable in the comments, that's half the fun. You'd think that when PETA are acutely aware of the link between animal cruelty and domestic abuse, they might consider what their own images of women are doing in the big picture. We do know that their tactics seem successful, with PETA being one of the world largest animal rights organisation with 2,000,000 members (according to the wikipedia), and that when they push the right "offend" button their press coverage is all over the place like radiation. Once can argue that I am contributing to the success of this strategy right now by posting this list. Sue me.

I'm curious though, when the tactic isn't "offend everybody on the planet", as was done when they compared the decapitation on a Manitoba Greyhound bus to slaughtering chickens, and when they likened the meat industry to the holocaust, PETA seems to concentrate on "offend women". PETA doesn't even seem to like transgendered women, nor fat women. What's with the hate for human females, PETA?

While PETA claim they never threw red paint on fur clad women, anti-fur people did. Yet nobody entered a biker bar to complain abut their use of leather in clothing. That joke writes itself.

  • 5

  • Pushing pleather with porn stars

    The Jenna Jameson ad offends me more due to the terrible art direction and the utter failure in making her resemble iconic Bettie Page.
    Still, it's interesting to note that PETA chooses porn stars as spokespeople, and at least here they are equal opportunity employers as they've used Ron Jeremy to illustrate a spay/neuter ad.
    Har har.

  • 4

  • Putting pregnant women in cages
    PETA caged pregnant naked women in the middle of Covent Garden for mothers day.
    Why? Because caged naked ladies get attention, silly wabbit.
    This proved to be so effective in pissing people off that they did it again just one year later. Recycling is so in!

  • 3
  • Drink human milk, not cow!
    PETA begs Ben&Jerry's to use breast milk instead of cows milk - because forcing cows to constantly lactate is cruel, so it's better we get women to do it, wait, what? Did PETA just call me a cow? Ah, I get it, we're supposed to feel worse for the cow who gives milk year after year, by picturing a woman in her place, but this effect is insta-gone as everyone reading PETA's letter to Ben & Jerry's were far too busy being grossed out.
  • 2

  • PETA - Fur is Dead - (2002) :30

    Another ad that never made it to the Super bowl because the violence would offend in the "post 9/11 climate". Like beating women to death with baseball bats is A-OK any other time. There are a lot of PETA ads that don't make it to the bowl, one day I'd like to see the networks reply "OK, lets air that" just to see if PETA can actually cough up the money. Pretty please? Wakker Dier animal rights group took many PETA notes when they topped this ad - famous porn model? Check! Nudity? Check! Blood & Violence on women! Got that too. Watch out PETA, someone is about to nab your crown.

  • 1
  • Peta: Save the wild pussy. This ad regarding fur trim ran ten years ago, and then again with Burberry patterned knickers a few years later (PETA really does like to recycle their ideas). With a single image, PETA manages to make fur trim and the natural state of a woman's body hair be considered equally unfashionable. Thanks for hating me so much PETA, the feeling is mutual.

    Comments (35)

    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      PETA should be ashamed of themselves.

      May 01, 2011
    • AnonymousVegan's picture
      AnonymousVegan (not verified)

      I'm a vegan but I hate PETA.

      Feb 05, 2012
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      you're missing the point of the adverts!! They are designed to be shocking and in bad taste because they're drawing parallels with what is permitted with animals but what would never be permitted with humans. They arent just going for shocks for shock sake. Apparently "Dabitch" who wrote this article can only see the most basic level of the advert and just stops there. To assume that the pregnant woman in the cage was just because people would be shocked by seeing a pregnant woman in a cage is laughable. Do some more research next time.

      Jun 23, 2012
    • laments's picture
      laments (not verified)

      They would be a lot less offensive if they used imagery that actually IS never permitted with humans. If violence against women weren't such a huge problem, if women weren't treated as sub-human in almost every single society in the world, if women were taken seriously after reporting a rape or sexual assault, if a woman being beaten with a baseball bat was something that DOESN'T happen every single day, perhaps the ads would be a little bit more acceptable... but as they are now, as things are now, they are trivializing the experiences that millions of women ACTUALLY GO THROUGH every day! I'm all for animal rights, I think there is something horribly wrong with the meat industry, but do we have to pull women down, compare them to animals, trivialize their pain, to get that point across? Once the abuse of women stops being a thing that is actually WIDELY ACCEPTED by billions of people, then maybe we can start using it to make a point.

      Jul 20, 2012
    • Moons's picture
      Moons (not verified)

      You are wrong. What these ads reveal is that torture is permitted on both animals and women. Animals get tested on and are tormented in the process, while women all over the world suffer all forms of violence and degradation. Women are reduced to the "position" of animals.

      Dec 18, 2012
    • AnonymousWarrior's picture
      AnonymousWarrior (not verified)

      Yes, but does PETA have to sexualize and objectify women to get their point across? I agree that a lot of conditions for animals are awful and it needs to stop but do we have to do this to women to get this point across? You can be plenty shocking without objectifying human beings. They're also just distasteful in general. You CANNOT compare the Holocaust to butchering pigs. That shit just isn't right.

      Feb 01, 2013
    • diagonotter's picture
      diagonotter (not verified)

      The point is clear to me, I get what they are doing but do your own research, just google peta ads and click images, note the ratio of naked women versus men, the use of sexual objectification on women. Just like the rest of marketing, sexualization of women sells- so while they are on their high horse ab out none- human animals they right down in the muck with women. As my daughter says, It makes me think they value animals more than women.

      Oct 24, 2013
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      This is disgusting. PETA is disgusting.

      Jun 24, 2012
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      it is the most horrible site ive ever seen sorry if I offend you.

      Jun 04, 2013
    • AnonymousVegetarian's picture
      AnonymousVegetarian (not verified)

      Look, yeah you guys think its offensive. But seriously, besides PETA, how many more organizations can you name that tries to stop people from eating animals? The nudity does attract attention, yes, and thats what they need. They need people to become aware of these issues, but they need people attention first. Its advertising, and it does what ALL advertisements do. Get over yourselves because you know theyre right.

      Jun 24, 2012
    • Nicolette's picture
      Nicolette (not verified)

      PETA doesn't do a damn thing to 'stop people from eating animals'. PETA just makes people irritated, and does nothing but damage to animal rights. They're hypocritical assholes; it's that simple. They expend more effort trying to figure out how to piss the public off than they do actually trying to help the cause they claim to support. You do not win people over by pissing them off and being fairly openly hypocritical. You just make people hate you. NOTHING PETA does is anything but detrimental to their supposed cause. No one who has actually done some research on PETA thinks they're 'right'. No one is becoming more aware of the 'issues' thanks to PETA's advertising. Because their message is lost when they're focusing their effort on offending everyone. Because then all anyone thinks is "FUCK PETA". Not "Oh, maybe I should give a damn about this issue!" Their ads attract attention for all the wrong reasons. If no one cares about the message because you're distracting them too much with offensive content, you're not ACTUALLY getting their attention. Not for what you want. You're deluded if you think they're even remotely 'right', ever.

      Jun 24, 2012
    • Vas's picture
      Vas (not verified)

      Let's see:

      Mercy for Animals, ASPCA, Vegan Action, Farm Sancturary, Consistent Life, your local chapter of the Vegetarian Society.

      Huge advertising and promotional budgets are no excuse to support a high profile organization that engages in reprehensible practices.

      Mar 03, 2013
    • Anonymoose's picture
      Anonymoose (not verified)

      Holy shit be more of a psycho feminazi. Wow. Not that I support PETA at all but you just seem batshit insane based off yor response to these retarded ads.

      Jun 24, 2012
    • Mr. Grimm's picture
      Mr. Grimm (not verified)

      PETA is great! I give at least $1,000 every year!

      Jun 25, 2012
    • Dabitch's picture

      This, my friends, is the kind of comment thread 126 Facebook shares and countless re-tumblrs gets you.

      Jun 26, 2012
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      I understand that this is drawing a parallel of what's permitted with animals never will be with humans. Wanna know why? ANIMALS ARE LOWER THAN US. They are stupid. They do not live as long as us. I love animals, but they're unimportant. Do they get jobs? Do they buy houses and date and get on roller coasters and live life? No. Comparing humans to animals is sick, because we will always be more important. We are the dominant species. Locking an animal in a cage is natural. Locking a human is not. Do people not realize this?

      Jul 20, 2012
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      Don't you realize you are the one who is being stupid ? Animals are not lower than us, they are different, their lifes and freedom deserve respect as much as ours, can't you see that ? Many of them are intelligent, I would even call them more intelligent than men (and I'm not the only one by far..) because they don't cut the branch they are sitting, they don't abuse of their position on Earth. What we do and you call smart, is pointless ; you have a job to get money to buy yourself I-phones and shiny clothes etc... You need a house and guns to protect yourself because you are physically weak, they don't require that. How do human's inventions matter in anyway on the grand scale ? they pollute, they contribute to you abusing of your fellows (low-waged chine children making t-shirts etc), and that's it. How is it a proof that you are important and any animal is not ?
      "Locking an animal in a cage is natural", really ? Ever looked into a dictionnary to see the definition of the word "natural" ? Is is NOT. Not more than locking humans - less actually, because some people in this world REALLY deserves to be locked in.

      Aug 31, 2013
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      Honestly, honestly, honestly how awkward did that pregnant lady feel getting her clothes off when pregnant and being on all fours in a very public place??! Don't tell me.."she did it for the cause".."she justified it by doing what's right" etc etc etc. BS. It would've had more impact if she was fully clothed. People would've wondered what the hell a 'normal but clearly 'crazy'' woman was doing in a small cage in the middle of the street. Sometimes these ideas of PETA just backfire into stupidity.

      Aug 01, 2012
    • Ian Logsdon's picture
      Ian Logsdon (not verified)

      While I detest the sexism common in PETA's advertising, the breast milk letter bothered people because they can't admit the fact that milk consumption comes directly from caging a pregnant cow, forcing it to become pregnant, taking its child, and keeping it constantly producing milk until its body is used up, then it is slaughtered. Milk is the most disgusting of the many things people do to animals, it tortures both the mother and child, and then both are killed brutally.

      "ANIMALS ARE LOWER THAN US. They are stupid. They do not live as long as us. I love animals, but they're unimportant. Do they get jobs? Do they buy houses and date and get on roller coasters and live life? No. Comparing humans to animals is sick, because we will always be more important."

      Would you say someone making this same argument about a different racial or ethnic group was a psychopath? What makes you different from them? Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean its the right thing. You could easily make the same argument about almost any person, only a tiny percentage of people are "important," most of the rest of the population is just trying to stay alive. You're an elitist and disgusting.

      Aug 27, 2012
    • Dabitch's picture

      So glad to learn that this post makes me a "batshit insane psycho feminazi". I think I might print that on my businesscards.

      Oct 19, 2012
    • fairuse's picture

      Really? For the record this ad makes me insane -- dot dot dot.

      The bengal kittens like their new handle, Hat & Gloves -- Gray Bengal is Hat, Brown Bengal is Gloves. Might be the other way around cause Tosh has softer fur.

      What did the Leopard say after wearing the man-skin-suit? Eww sweaty and itches.


      Oct 20, 2012
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      What the fuck PETA?

      Oct 20, 2012
    • Advertising Brisbane's picture
      Advertising Brisbane (not verified)

      People here seem to think that someone reviewing PETA's ads calls for them to review PETA's purpose and existence.

      Also, someone there was comparing different races to different species, just saying.

      Oct 22, 2012
    • Dabitch's picture

      I count that comment as a near Godwin, which frankly is a bit late to the thread since the Holocaust is already mentioned in the post itself. ;)

      Nov 01, 2012
    • salvador1234's picture
      salvador1234 (not verified)

      my greatest concern her is for the intelligence level of this articles author. I understand the argument you are attempting to present, but it's not put together very well or with much intelligence what so ever. Please consider rewriting it.

      Nov 13, 2012
    • Dabitch's picture

      Please consider rewriting your comment with less typos.

      Nov 13, 2012
    • SarahlovesanimalsbugdisagreeswithPETAmethodology's picture
      Sarahlovesanima... (not verified)

      I'm really glad that you complied this list. A fried just posted an article from Ms Magazine about PETA's 'fur-trim' ads and I was appalled. I then started looking into PETA further and I can't believe how tactless they are; not only do they distract from their core issues by using human subjects, especially naked females, they make us feel bad about the way our bodies naturally are. All points you've made, but I agree. Everyone who doesn't agree with this needs to seriously reconsider WHY they don't agree. Is it because you actually think that a woman's pubic hair, and other body hair for that matter, is grotesque? Or that you think that porn stars are an accurate representation of the general global female population? If you really feel this way, try actually talking to a real woman or watching less reality television. You may be brainwashed.

      Nov 28, 2012
    • Dormouse's picture
      Dormouse (not verified)

      PETA is the biggest group of hypocrites I've ever encountered, and these ads are, quite simply, disgusting. There is absolutely no reason for them to have to get their "point" across by objectifying women. Since sexism is so widely accepted and downplayed, many people seem to find demeaning adverts such as these perfectly fine. However, imagine if PETA launched a new ad campaign depicting naked individuals of African descent out on the savannah with the caption, "Animals are meant to remain in their natural habitats." There would be a massive uproar! However, since it's "just women," there is apparently no problem at all with these dehumanizing ads. The commercial where the woman is beaten by a man with a baseball bat is particularly disturbing. Why not show a man beating another man? Or a woman beating a woman? Or even a woman beating a man? PETA knew exactly what it was doing. They deliberately made the decision to use the sexually-charged image of man beating a woman, essentially equating skinning animals with domestic violence. While skinning animals is undeniably a horrible practice, trivializing the abuse and trauma so many women undergo by depicting it crassly and carelessly in this manner is simply NOT COOL.

      I am an animal lover, and I feel that it is contradictory to love animals and agree with PETA. They are hypocrites of the lowest kind. Each year, PETA callously murders countless healthy animals without making any efforts to rehome them. Since 1998, government documents from the state of Virginia reveal that PETA has killed over 27,000 animals. In 2011, they killed 95% of the pets received by their "shelter." 84% of those animals were killed within 24 hours of having entered their slaughterhouse. Of the 1,911 pets they took in last year, only 24 were rehomed. Furthermore, their "shelter" doesn't live up to the quality standards that they themselves have published on their website! In 2006, two PETA employees were arrested for disposing bags of dead animals (which had been killed in the back of a PETA van) in a dumpster. When questioned about their routine for finding adoptive homes for rescued animals, PETA did not comment. And honestly, I'm not even going to go into their involvement with eco-terrorism.

      PETA does not believe that humans and animals should have any sort of interaction, an ironic and unnatural belief given that humans ARE animals and that animals DO interact with each other in nature - and, more often than not, in a much more brutal setting than the average interaction between a human and an animal. I know there is a lot of sick and cruel animal abuse in the world, especially when it comes to the meat industry. I get that, and by no means do I condone the needless suffering of innocent animals. But the fact remains that humans, along with many animal species, are natural omnivores, and forcing veganism on everybody is simply unnatural and unhealthy. Certainly, the vegan lifestyle fits a good many people. But "a good many people" is not everyone. People don't want veganism shoved down their throats any more than they would religion or politics.

      In conclusion, PETA really IS just like Pokemon Black and White's Team Plasma, to which they ignorantly relate themselves; a group of self-satisfying media whores and terrorists concerned more with making money and acquiring power and attention than with the cause they claim to fight for. All I want to add is this: People, PLEASE, PLEASE do your research before supporting groups that want nothing more than to make a buck at the expense of murdering innocent animals!

      Dec 18, 2012
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      Ok, for you PETA supporters, PETA does not need to be doing this, there are plenty ways to get more supporters besides making women feel bad.
      Just look at their 'Cooking Mama:Mama Kills Animals. That gets me playing, but it really didn't upset my stomach. PETA, for some people meat is an ADDITION to our diet, and with the breast milk thing, um yea those women would protest. Cows can't protest. I don't think of it like, those poor cows. They show no discomfort, and it is my understanding that the cows would be in a deteriorating state without milking. I've made my point.

      Jan 21, 2013
    • Observer's picture
      Observer (not verified)

      I just find it highly entertaining (not at all) that the people defending PETA for these ads find the plight of animals more important than the plight of women.

      If you can't even empathize with another fucking human do you think I really believe your whole "Save the animals" escapade. Let's get real folks.

      Feb 01, 2013
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      PETA is just promotiing the myth that animal welfare people don't support women's rights - and that's not true. Look at the Humane Societies - they support women's rights and they care about animals.

      Also, I don't like the fact that PETA supports euthanasia. I also think there are some "fake" vegans - people who don't really care that much about animals but have infiltrated the animal rights' groups because they are anti-abortion. And there are dangerous men who infiltrate the animal rights' movement to meet women.

      On the other hand, the women's movement is no longer fighting or even opposed to prostitution, pornography, women as sex objects (unless it's in the "third world") - so why should PETA oppose sexual exploitation if the women's movement isn't opposed? I am sick of this pro-sex feminism.

      May 07, 2013
    • AnonymousCoward's picture
      AnonymousCoward (not verified)

      I get that they're supposed to be "shocking," but trying to fight one problem by creating another problem isn't progress to me. How can they encourage respect and equality for animals if they do the opposite for women? If these are the kind of ads they need to get their point across, they're just making themselves look like they don't have very good points.

      May 27, 2013
    • kidsleepy's picture

      They're not interested in fighting the problem. they're interested in PR and money. Just like any other big company.

      May 27, 2013
    • anonymousgal's picture
      anonymousgal (not verified)

      As a vegan and a feminist I am repulsed by these ads. Fighting against the oppression of animals is not an excuse to further the oppression of women. There are many effective advertising strategies that do not reduce women down to sex objects, and it would do PETA good to use them. I have a lot of respect for the work that PETA does, but this is unacceptable - I'm repulsed. As for the people defending these ads in the comments, you need to understand that it is NEVER okay to objectify women, no matter how noble your cause may be. Oh and if anyone's going to fight me on this, bring it on, but please use good grammar and spelling because I'm not about to decipher your angry hate speech.

      May 21, 2017

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    about the author

    Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.