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Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

NBC’s Sexually-Explicit Super Bowl Ad Rejection Makes Us Blush

Written by PETA | January 27, 2009

Apparently, NBC has something against girls who love their veggies. After we submitted our proposed Super Bowl ad, which features a comely crop of models demonstrating their fondness for fresh produce, NBC nixed the ad, saying it “depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards.” No joke, this is straight from NBC—so stop fondling your fruit salad right now and read the list of shots NBC requested we cut before they’d reconsider:

  • licking pumpkin
  • touching her breast with her hand while eating broccoli
  • pumpkin from behind between legs
  • rubbing pelvic region with pumpkin
  • screwing herself with broccoli (fuzzy)
  • asparagus on her lap appearing as if it is ready to be inserted into vagina
  • licking eggplant
  • rubbing asparagus on breast

Wow, that list even made us blush! You can read the full NSFW letter from NBC here and then watch the video to see what the controversy is all about.  Not as pure as eating apple pie, but it sure does drive home the fact that vegetarians make better lovers. And I’m pretty sure that most Super Bowl fans would find the ad a lot more appealing than the impotence and other not-so-sexy effects that a steady stream of chicken wings and burgers can have on their love lives.

Why so grouchy NBC? Sounds like someone’s not getting enough um…vegetables. I’m thinking network execs could really benefit from a broccoli booty call.

That said, what do you think about our sexy Super Bowl ad? Do you agree with NBC’s decision to reject it?

Written by Amy Elizabeth

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  • tracy says:

    I was not offended by the content but would prefer to not have to remove my children from the room each time an age selective commercial is played. It had little affect on helping me to choose a vegan life style. I commend the efforts to save animals but this is not going to get the job done.

  • JM says:

    What a great ad! Congratulations to the people who created it. I think NBC’s main concern was running such an effective ad going against the interest of thier fast food clients.

  • Tim says:

    This is a cool ad why would somebody deem it to be too sexy? I hate American censorship. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy meat but to censor this is ridiculous. Let the Vegetarians have their free speech.

  • Nancy says:

    Dear PETA Thank you for your consideration and taking time to respond to my concerns. Because we both know the issue is terribly important I would like to respond to certain items in your letter. I am a professor of philosophy who routinely teaches courses on animal ethics and I rely on your educational materials often. So please know that I am devoted to animal liberation and respect the fact that PETA has put the animal issue on peoples radar. Nevertheless despite my shared interest I have strong reservations about this and so many other similar ads sponsored by PETA. You admit the ad is provocative but your defense is that it is no different from other ads sponsored by the beer and fastfood industries. I agree. However two wrongs do not make a right. Certainly we can rise above this standard. The pornographic elements and filming techniques of the video distract from our message of compassion justice and animal rights. You are right to say that people pay more attention to racier actions. However that is the crux of the problem. The facts about animal agriculture and vegetarianism are drowned out by public chatter regarding women having sex with broccoli. People are talking about the racy elements of the ad and not the immorality of factory farming practices and the ill health effects of high meat consumption. Our mission our message and our efforts are washed away in the tide of public debate about whether women should be seen on TV having orgasms with vegetables. Your ads are sexist not because they portray women in that all too common framework of sexual lust and arousal. I find your ads sexist because only women are portrayed in this way. Where are the barely clad men? Why dont we ever see young men mimicking sex with a pumpkin? Presenting only women in this way is sexist common and tiresome. Ads like these belittle our image as animal rights activists. We especially women who already live in a sexist world are not portrayed as intelligent or strong persons in your ads. Instead the public gaze sees a woman who has better sex. I am not against women choosing to do what they want with their bodies. I am however disappointed with PETAs marketing strategy. When we appeal to the lowest common denominator by showing these racy ads we lose legitimacy and risk making a mockery of the movement. It occurred to me while watching the ad that PETA inadvertently gave the meat egg and dairy industries a way out. That is to say because the ad was pulled for its racy elements these industries did not have to come up to the plate and protest the ad for fear that people will be disgusted by the scenes of animal cruelty. We as animal liberators want people to talk about the horrors of slaughterhouses battery cages and sow crates. Had the ad only shown scenes of animal cruelty I believe the ensuing debate would have served our greater purpose. However public discussion focused on those infamous racy scenes. Im sure these industries were delighted to hear the public rant and rave about women and broccoli and not whether they are guilty of systematic animal abuse.

  • a says:

    Why would that ever be allowed?

  • miss m says:

    super sexy! id love to see more ads like this one! personally i think advertising fast food on tv all the time is way more offensive but i guess the cenosors dont agree with that. but if they were getting off over kfc or something i bet they would have shown it! its funny sex is always censored more than violence! whats wrong with women having fun? is it the abscence of a man?

  • Veggie Bunny says:

    I’m not into pro sports and would never watch the Super Bowl even if you paid me but this ad seems to fit the whole Super Bowl mentality and isn’t any raunchier then some of the other special adds that are aired during the Super Bowl. I wouldn’t want this aired on regular show time but give me a break it’s the freaken Super Bowl. P.S. I know from personal experience vegetarians do have better sex.

  • John says:

    But yet they’ll show GoDaddy ads with women taking showers and all that crap. Or a guy eating chips to blowrip a womans clothes off….

  • Sammie says:

    I personally liked the ad but I’m glad it was rejected since I have kids in their early double digits and there’s enough for them to deal with at this age. The doritos ad with the woman’s coat being blown off and then all of her under wear being shown was bad enough. That part was unnecessary but this would have been way too much. I’m enjoying the taste of different vegetables more often as I get older and I’m going to try asparagus again real soon!

  • SARAH says:

    this is fantastic! i love it although i think this should have definitely made it on the air. its controversial but true D its still getting the attention it deserves whether its on TV or not VEGAN FOR LIFE 3

  • Steve says:

    What a great ad. It was so much better than all the violent ads out there that had people being tossed out of second story windows beaten or demeaned by talking flowers. NBC seems to be saying you can be mean to people but you can’t give someone an orgasm.

  • Anna says:

    I’m a vegetarian going on 11 years and I think it’s a cheesy ad. Sure sex sells but this ad reduces vegetarianism to the levels of other meaningless consumer goods. BTW are any of those models vegetarians? My body is awesome I look like I’m in my 20s and my sexual stamina is better than my younger partner’s but I don’t need to flaunt it. IMHO poor way to market vegetarianism.

  • matt says:

    sexy ad and i love vegetables. what idiots to turn this down. meat lovers suck.

  • Millie says:

    Officially inappropriate for family television. Peta do you want to make a valid point that is serious in nature? Then please do not bring us down with the bottom feeders of our culture that rely on sex and shock to sell their products and philosophies. Peta we are better than that we can beat them and we will certainly not join them. Why start controversy over sexually explicit ads? This controversy overshadows the true value of Petas organization and the people that are vegetarians vegans and animal activists. Don’t put us in the same category as other low brow advertisement. Keep your standards high.

  • Jeff says:

    I think it’s funny that in America blowing things up killing people and other wanton senseless violence is okay in primetime. Talk about murder killing gangs and everything else. But boobies?! Oh God no! Not that! Sex!? TERRIBLE. Get real. Sex is one of the few natural totally organic blissful experiences in life. It MAKES families. To say that it isn’t family friendly but that violence is borders on insanity. Way to go PETA. Hot ad.

  • Ayca says:

    I thought it was refreshing to see women objectified for a good cause instead of for drinking bad beer or something. There are tons of football commercials that are inappropriate and suggestive I don’t see what the big deal was.

  • Charlie Brown says:

    I can see why this wasn’t shown. It’s way more over the top than any Victoria’s Secret commercial and even the Paris Hilton for Burger King ad. These girls are not only rolling around in lingerie which is all Victoria’s Secret commercials amount to girls standing around in lingerie with wind machines but they also appear to be moments away from inserting vegetables into themselves. There are much better ways to get this message across.

  • Barbara says:

    I’m a Christian first but have been a peta member for years and also a vegetarian. However this ad is just way too inappropriate. We do not need to use sex to get our point across about animal abuse. Just keep giving them the facts. Respectfully Barb

  • Thomas Leavitt says:

    Umm… like I was astounded at the gross sexism and even misogyny of a whole bunch of the ads in the Super Bowl. Why this ad is any more outrageous than the Danica Patrick GoDaddy ad where teenage guys are surfing for Internet porn is beyond me! Or how about the viscously stereotypical Mr. Potatohead ad? Why is sexiness bad for kids to see and sexism and misogyny acceptable?

  • Matt says:

    Wow this commercial is wayy over the top… I’m not saying that to make anyone mad but I’m just sharing my opinion also I love meat and don’t understand how other people can resist it but if it makes them happy then I’m happy. Please respond to my comment by emailing me and sharing your opinion I’m interested in hearing what PETA has to sayMatt Castro 9th Grade High Tech High International

  • Ariel says:

    omg i luv this ad and its not like they ever bann the vic secrets commercals

  • Kevin says:

    Um yeah. I noticed this only because I was looking at Super Bowl ads online. 1. I am not a vegetarian myself but am not opposed to the lifestyle either. 2. I agree that there are other ads that could very well be deemed inappropriate but getting a message across by shock and awe which was EXACTLY the aim here is not the way to go for a general audience Super Bowl viewers. 3. By all means this could go on TV but preferably on cable if not after 10pm anywhere else.

  • Erin Grier says:

    I completely disagree with NBC banning this ad. It is so funny. And being a vegetarian it is also very true! I think they should run!! How is this any more sexy than everything else on t.v.?!?!

  • Phyllis from Nashville says:

    Give me a Break!!!! The commercial was wonderful. There is something else going on here. Someone else wanted the ad space and were willing to pay more per second for the spot. Sounds like a lawsuit might be necessary to get to the truth. Everything is about the almighty dollar. Follow the money. It sucks! I’m not a vegetarian yet but I buy foods that utilize humane treatment of animals.

  • Chevelle says:

    Not a vegetarian but I do loved hot cooked vegetables! This should have got aired. Even if little kids see it what are they going to do? Think that loving their vegetables is okay? Um..because it is OKAY to love vegetables. Especially versus little kids thinking its okay to take snow globes and you know…

  • Ariel Aguirre says:

    It was not as bad as the Jack in the box burger commercial where the girl washes the car!!!

  • Lisa says:

    I agree with NBC’s decision … what they showed was bad enough … do you know how hard it is to keep your finger triggered on the remote buttom during all the commercials throughout the Superbowl … when you have little kids watching the game? I already sent my issues to NBC and the NFL with the commercials they aired. Little kids don’t need to be scared through movie trailers or see violence from NBC network show advertisements or sex from companies trying to make a buck!

  • MELISSA says:

    I loved it! Way to go PETA! I thought it was sexy and very inspiring. Everyone knows that sex sells. NO one has said anything when it comes to advertising for cars beer liquor vigra male enhancements etc but let them advertise for the ethical treatment of animals and they are denied the right to show their message. It is okay for children to watch commercials that encourage smoking drinking etc. Trust me when I say that children hear and see worse things everyday. I support PETA ASPCA FCAP Humane Society and NO KILL shelters. I am NOT a vegan but would gladly change after seeing this commercial…eat healthy yeah! LOL….Great commercial.

  • Laurie Herndon says:

    Don’t see much wrong with it myself…hey if they can put that scronny brainless little bimbo Paris Hilton on a hamburger commercial all soaped up washing a car in a bikini…why not this! Seriously now NBC WHATS YOUR REAL BEEF WITH PETA???

  • Priscilla says:

    These girls are way hotter than the VS models

  • jodi says:

    I can understand where they are coming from it was erotic however anytime you turn on tv or listen to pop music it’s all about sex. people who are supposed to be teenage role models are all about sex sex sex. MTV performances song lyrics movies commercials movies and television it seems that its everywhere. So as per usual the hypocrisy is there I believe it had more to do with the fact it was PETA then the commercial. I do agree with one person men should have been included. Either way I support PETA wholly. One last thing the exposure to teenagers well no matter what teenagers are exposed to this everywhere and teenagers today are not like they were 1020 years ago they are having sex younger and younger so seduction is not new

  • Darian says:

    A lovely marketing ploy. Even though the claims are unsubstantiated as in any advertisement. I love vegetables but I am not a pure vegetarian and I am quite sure that I have most excellent sex

  • Kris says:

    PETA has the best PR department ever!!! You’ve topped yourself again and i’d love to know how many extra million hits they got on their website for this…not to mention the head count of all the media that aired the “controversy”. How much smarter do they look getting all this publiity for free when others pay hundreds of millions for ad time during the superbowl. Im donating more this year just for the shear genius of PETA.

  • NP says:

    I’m 36 and have an eight year old daughter. I definitely agree this was not appropriate for a super bowl ad. I want to send my children the message that being vegetarian will make you strong and compassionate. I think a much better ad would have been to showcase some strong veg atheletes or perphaps a slightly sexy muddy coed football game where the players are punting pumpkins and throwing broccoli spears.

  • Brian Luznak (I Need An MD In Lettuce Ladieology) says:

    Great advertisment as always. Next time you could maybe explain to everyone why we vegetarians have better sex but overall you got the message across and great press. But hey it’s pretty blatant that NBC dropped the add because of their own hipocrasy and not that it was too distasteful. In fact superbowl ads are usually the epiphany of distaste. Next time you may want to PBS the add though by that I mean tone it down to PBS standards if you want to see it air. Then they can’t turn you down… or can they? I’m sure they’ll find a way. It’s tough to beat out the Hillshire Farms and Tyson pull have on marketing most agents. Oh yeah before I finish I gotta say I’m loving you more and more lettuce ladies. Keep revealing to us all the good points about not eating meat!

  • lynda downie says:

    My thoughts exactly Get a Clue People Jan 31 1152 AM

  • Bruce says:

    There was only one purpose to this ad people. To get banned so that you all would go to the peta.org website which you did and now you are watching and reading and hopefully learning. There is more info here that in 1000 one minute ads and and at a fraction of the cost of a single ad on the superbowl. Kudos to PETA on media management!

  • lola says:

    i couldn’t agree LESS with NBC! if they really wanted to say “family Friendly” then why would they post something SOO violent such a Friday the 13th? or that year with all those Beer commercials? Beer is not anymore “family friendly” than horny vegans. Not to mention the whole Janet Justin thing! p.s. Totally Hot commercial! i too am a veggitarian! just sayin LMAO Just kidding!

  • Brilliant Mess says:

    I only read the first couple comments and I decided for some odd reason to state something even though someone else might have done the same thing. first off that is an amazing ad. I never considered being Veg until I saw the “Chew on this” video but I still not one. This though caught my eye on myspace. and kept it. and here I am on peta. org considering going veg for lent to at least try it. thus if this was shown it would probable get a lot of peoples eyes. second i see why NBC didn’t show the ad. simple put the kids. It would be too much for them. sure the system is whacked showing violence around the world and other types of ads but not this one among other ads that were banned but that doesn’t justify having grade school students seeing this. i thought i had mroe to say but i seem to have forgotten it. oh well. my point was made. BM

  • sabrina says:

    I can’t believe you all expected this ad to air. No freakin’ way. Peta to me is incredibly controversial. That’s ok. I admire the standing up for your beliefs but if you really want to be heard why wouldn’t you make ads that provoke thought and not controversy and anger?

  • Jee says:

    Has anyone ever heard of the term “dumb as a fox”? PeTA knew the ad wouldn’t get on the air during the superbowl but would get plenty of exposure. Smart move! Alsospeaking of nottooracyforNBC Victoria’s Secret I once wrote a letter of complaint to their corporate offices regarding their Holiday ad a couple of years back where the models trounce about in lacy undies and “speak” to men buying them gifts saying various things including “bring me to my knees”. Wow Vick’s that was subtle. I received the standard automated response and heard nothing further but I will note that I never saw that particular line in the ad ever again. I would rather read about organizations like PeTA wanting to place highpriced ads where millions will see them but instead using the money in more economical ways. I think that Palin doing an interview in front of a slackjawed yokel slaughtering chickens was my favorite proveg “ad” as of late.

  • carolyn says:

    I don’t think doing ads like that help your cause.

  • Vicky says:

    I do not agree with NBC decision. But I can understand it because most ad are from companies who use meat a lot in their product. I do not think I need to give names. But there is one concern about going vegan. I live in a canadian surburb of Montreal Laval and there are not that much veggies options in my area Or they are too expensive!

  • polly says:

    Great commercial. It’s almost as “racy” as the Victoria’s Secret ads. Hmmm……..

  • jennifer says:

    i am sure peta knew all along that this ad wouldn’t run and that this was their game plan to get publicity so people would seek out the ad online.

  • Raj Michael says:

    By rejecting the PETA ad NBC and it parent lost out on a great opportunity to leverage their brand “Imagination at Work” for their shareholders. I would at this point wholeheartedly support anything that can stimulate the economy. Great Ad PETA excellent work!

  • Angeline Orozco says:

    I understand that sex sells and maybe its not that sexual the add but it made me laugh nerviously. Its sad that NBC rejected the add but lets see it fro mtheir point of view.. if you take away the few words it has I would have thought it was a late night commercial form adult swim. Isnt Supper bowl like family bonding time? Its one of the few times my dad and younger brothers have to spend time with each other. IF my mom saw this I bet Super Bowl would be banned in my family.

  • deb says:

    oh give me a break NBC…you ban this commercial but subject us to thousand of hours of violence on the Nightly News….time for a reality check boys and girls!

  • Victoria says:

    Lmao well i loved the add that is for sure veggies rock and vegetarians rock. People are to much of a prude now adays that they cant handle something like that. I think it should have gotten on if they had stupid victorias secret stuff Not a fan of the place So why shouldent they have some better things on there.

  • Sarah says:

    I will not lie this made my day. However I will probably never be able to look at broccoli the same way. It has also made me want to eat some carrots sexily at my roommate when she comes back from class.

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