No one enjoys being called a murderer or likes being shown images of goats being beaten to produce milk, but PETA has never had a problem with those approaches in delineating their message, and has a reputation for such shocking campaign tactics. Hell, who can forget the "Don't swallow, ditch dairy," campaign where they depicted a woman with a face full of, um, bodily fluid.
These guerilla tactics are very much done consciously, and it is something PETA feels is necessary to bring attention to their animal-friendly mission.
PETA Media Director Ben Williamson joined The Katchup podcast, Thursday, and explained these "shock tactics," and why they are done.
"We have to shake people up and wake them out of their comfort zone, just so they have this conversation," Williamson said. "That's what PETA has done for many years, and has been very successful."
Williamson told The Katchup that in order to compete with major corporations, sometimes they have to shock the system.
From veganism becoming ever popular to their old school fur campaigns, their ways of getting their message across may feel questionable, but they've certainly been effective in getting people to talk about them.
And that's exactly what they want.
"We are probably imperfect, but we see the situation as too urgent, too dire," Williamson said.
The Katchup's Geoff Kutnick asked Williamson about PETA being opportunistic and taking advantage of the news such as immigrant children being put in cages, and equating it to the treatment of animals. (12:12 in the podcast)
Williamson responded by saying it is all done in the name of grabbing people's attention, and often fighting fire with fire:
"It is hard to reach people, as we all know. We could stand on street corners and hand people vegan recipes, but how many people is that ultimately going to change? PETA's creative teams use sex, shock tactics, they use controversial methods 'cause we're competing with wealthy corporations."
While the podcast got a little tense with these topics, it was interesting to hear straight from someone at PETA why they believe all these maneuvers are necessary.
The Katchup conversation also gave insight on common PETA myths and stigma, such as them throwing paint on fur, and general conversations on how vegan food has evolved over the years.
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