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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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  • gypsycook says:

    I found the superbowl ad disturbing I wasn’t sure whether it was an audtion for a porn movie or just very wrong way to treat your food. I mean love your veggies but don’t “love” your veggies! And I am certainly happy my kids didn’t see that I would have had a real hard time explaining it!

  • defenestr8 says:

    this response, as you call it, from nbc seems incredibly fake. a gigantic media powerhouse such as they would most likely not provide you with any reason that they didn’t want to show your advertisement on the most watched programming of any given year. nice try, though.

  • FreeMaverix says:

    We all are – more or less – the product of our society. And the people behind PETA obviously too. Great, that You oppose the way society disrespects and abuses animals. But should this be all, should it stop there? If You would have just a little bit of integrity, You would pay respect to how vegetables as food are handled (in your videos) and of course how the intimacy of sexuality is being respected. Just because the later is mis-presented everywhere else, is no reason for You to do so too. I thought what mainstream society does, is not your measure and reference?! It also is not an issue whether – as some are concerned about – our children might see this. If this is not for them, it should not be for anyone. Heck, our children would be much better off anyway, to learn the right attitude to sexuality, if we wouldn’t be so darn concerned of keeping everything body related secret. (Nudity is our natural dress – so why make a mystery out of it?) The forbidden fruits are the most desired ones! It’s all a matter how we present nudity – as something natural, or something mysterical and forbidden, or – as You just do – something perverted and woman (and sex) objectificated (perverted as our society and its education)? So it is not a matter of which audience it addresses (or ‘accidentally’ reaching the ‘wrong’ audience = minors), but what your level of respect, integrity and responsibility is ! Missing this, PETA, means missing the whole mission !! Keep in mind, people will not only respond and judge You on moral standards, but on the integrity that You are able to display as a whole ! Those people that You might reach because of your sexual display, will enjoy what You give them – and ignore what You want to say. You won’t be able to reach their hearts. But the majority of people where You could reach their heart and get your message heard, won’t listen to it, because they question your integrity due to the sexual explicit package of your message. So You miss them too. And others – like myself – who relate to your message and live what You promote, and who could be your best supporters, are not willing to publically demonstrate support and association to your sexually irresponsible, attempt of scandalous attention grabbing promotion. In the name of all the animals we want to protect, I beg You to please consider practicing more respect and integrity ! Please !

  • Avril says:

    Hmm,interesting debate if nothing else. I don’t have any major problems with the add provided it isn’t screened during a time when children watch. I do, however, think it appeals to the wrong audience. Surely you want to aim this message at a new generation of young people, so the message should be edgier, fashionable and appeal to a desirable lifestyle – I don’t think this add does a good job of selling the veggie lifestyle.

  • Cristina says:

    I am vegan and absolutely believe in free speech. PETA has the right to express their views and be heard. However, I think the objectification of women should never be used to protest the objectification of non-human animals. This is incredibly contradictory.

  • Mayo377 says:

    You should be ashamed of yourselves; Saying you’re a staff of feminists but continually objectifying women, treating them as if they are nothing but boobs and asses for you to use to sell an idea. I’m all about animal rights too, AND I am against looking at women as sexual objects. This leads to the high prevalence of rape in this society, major depression amongst women, eating disorders in women and young girls, etc. I would strongly encourage you to do some research on female objectification and sexualization. The American psychological association has some good articles on the devastating consequences.

  • Healthy Vegan Man says:

    I love the ad. Perfect. I think it’s a great way to co-opt the blatant use of sexuality typically used to sell cars, beer and ED drugs. Why not use that same logic to sell the public on something that is proven to benefit their hearts and bodies – eating vegetables and fruits. Heck, doing so even lowers public health costs…after all, there is no cholesterol in veggies, and there is no fiber in meat. All in all, great work PETA. Yet another reason my family and I will always support you and your greatly needed message.

  • Healthy Vegan Man says:

    I love the ad. Perfect. I think it’s a great way to co-opt the blatant use of sexuality typically used to sell cars, beer and ED drugs. Why not use that same logic to sell the public on something that is proven to benefit their hearts and bodies – eating vegetables and fruits. Heck, doing so even lowers public health costs…after all, there is no cholesterol in veggies, and there is no fiber in meat. All in all, great work PETA. Yet another reason my family and I will always support you and your greatly needed message.

  • Healthy Vegan Man says:

    I love the ad. Perfect. I think it’s a great way to co-opt the blatant use of sexuality typically used to sell cars, beer and ED drugs. Why not use that same logic to sell the public on something that is proven to benefit their hearts and bodies – eating vegetables and fruits. Heck, doing so even lowers public health costs…after all, there is no cholesterol in veggies, and there is no fiber in meat. All in all, great work PETA. Yet another reason my family and I will always support you and your greatly needed message.

  • PETA says:

    Syd – As an organization staffed largely by feminist women, we would not do something that we felt contributed to the very serious problems that women face. You might find it interesting to consider that it is the societies that allow women to wear revealing clothing in which women have the most rights and the most power. Likewise, it is the societies that punish women for wearing revealing clothing in which women have the fewest rights and the least power. We believe that people should have the choice to use their own bodies to make social statements, and that there is nothing shameful or “wrong” about being naked.

  • Steve says:

    I watched the video very carefully and found every single one of the references in Victoria Morgan’s (VP, Advertising Standards for NBC) letter to PETA, though I found nothing offensive or inappropriate in any of those scenes or references. In fact, maybe Ms. Morgan ought to do a little bit of research to see who she works for at NBC given the below articles I found online.

    I think Ms. Morgan ought to take her prudish thoughts and values to another network and let more contemporary VPs in alignment with Bob Greenblatt (NBC’s new chief executive) make decisions as to which advertisements should be allowed to air on NBC. There is no doubt that the PETA ad is very sexually suggestive and “hot,” but that doesn’t make it any worse than any number of scenes from movies and other programs that are already aired on the TV network today.

    Given the obvious intent for sexually suggestive content that PETA incorporated in the ad, I think it was all done very tastefully and in a non-offensive manner. None of the scenes referred to in the NBC letter to PETA come across to me as graphic or over the top – merely suggestive. How many scenes are already in today’s programming that are suggestive either visually or via scripted dialogue?

    Ms. Morgan and NBC’s Advertising Standards department need to get a grip on reality!

  • FreeMaverix says:

    With all respect about the great engagement of PETA for the rights of our weaker companions on this planet, those ads and videos totally miss the point! There is nothing wrong of showing human skin – but automatically relating it to sex is! The actions shown are far from what love or even just affections are – and confusing it with displaying pornography. This really is sad, as it just misses the point. And another point is missed here… if animal rights protection is based on respect to animals – how can that be demonstrated by being respectless with vegetables as food and also a living organism, by throwing it around and scattering it on the floor ?! All just for a show effect? What then would be wrong with a tiger show in a circus? Or the show-off of an luxory furcoat ? Com’on people… demonstrate common sense and apply respect to everything that is part of nature ! Animals, vegetables as well as the attraction of beautiful skin and the privacy of sex…

  • connie says:

    You should be ashamed of yourselves! NBC was completely justified. What does it say of our perverted society that you even need to ask if it should be allowed????

  • Syd says:

    I think something important to note is that the Superbowl is the largest venue for sex trafficking. Poor, helpless girls from all around the world are forced into this work with no escape. Most don’t speak English and think they would have no protection, so they have no ability or hope to tell anyone about what’s happening. An ad like this very easily encourages the mindset that leads to sex trafficking.

  • John says:

    The NBC executives actually used the word “screwing herself” in an otherwise formalistic letter! That is crazy. They couldn’t use some business-speak for that?

  • Samantha says:

    I host our annual Super Bowl party at my house for family and friends. I have several young kids (ages 7-12) attending, so needless to say this is not an ad I want the kids to see. PETA should know better and should not blame NBC for trying to keep those ads away from young kids.

  • Genaro Avila says:

    Is wonderful!

  • Pamela says:

    What about the ethical treatment of young women – hiding their embarrassment, hoping to be taken seriously, longing for a good job in the modelling/entertainment industry but manipulated to look foolishly sexy to ‘prove’ themselves. The ads that show the suffering of the animals is more likely to procure vegetarians.

  • DK says:

    So, yeah P.E.T.A should I remind you what your name means?

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Since when does that have to deal with anything about sex. Have you guys lost your way. Do you not understand that just by telling people you will have better sex will stop the cruelty towards animals?

    Stop conforming to what the rest of the world is doing and defend what you guys Fight for.

  • Danielle says:

    I guarantee there will be just as “racy” and sexy advertisements on during the Super Bowl- for those who are claiming that they don’t want their kids to see such an ad should probably prohibit them from watching the Super Bowl at all. It is full of things inappropriate for children. This ad should never have been banned while many others are approved. If they are going to stop this kind of ad from airing, they have to do it across the board for every advertisement, not just pick and choose. I’m not sure why selling underwear through just as sexy Victoria Secret ads is okay, yet promoting health through sex is not. Seems a bit backwards to me..

  • Melinda says:

    I don’t see why it was banned. I mean it was kind of racy but what about lubricant and condom ads? No one will be using those lubricants and condoms if they’re impotent from those burgers and chicken wings so why not spread the veg message?

  • Erin O. says:

    First off I’m impressed by the superior IQs of the Super Bowl ad responders. It just reaffirms that veggie eaters are “on top” in so many ways. It’s unfortunate that the ad was axed but I’m not surprised. I support a toneddown version so that it can at least get the air play it deserves. The point is to get the PETA message out! Proud to be PETA every day.

  • Sergio Martín says:

    Terrific!! Im not a veggy myself even though I try to eat little meat and fish. Sexual? Of course! But I think meat and junk food industries wouldn’t be happy having a lot veggies around. Congratulations from Spain.

  • Nikki Fizer says:

    Okay I love love love PETA but I think this commercial goes overboard. There are definitly other ways to get the message across.

  • Bruno Vieira says:

    The NBC really exaggerated it is almost the same explicit sexuality that we all already have seen on bears ads.

  • Penny Howland says:

    Of course air it. Much “worse” is seen if indeed one thinks that is obscene. Sex sells and every “family friendly” product knows that. Or have you been to the beach lately?

  • JANUSEN THOMAS says:

    I READ MOST OF THE COMMENTS AND IT APPEARS THAT WE AS A SOCIETY HAVE BECOME SO PROMISCUOUS WE HAVE FORGOTTEN WHAT IS APPROPRIATE AND NONAPPROPRIATE. “GOD HELP US ALL!!

  • TG says:

    Given how popular the Big Bang Victoria’s Secret ad has been I can’t see why this was rejected while a huge director was given nothing but kudos for the VS ad. In fact this one is a shorter b LESS overtly sexual and c and frankly makes a lot more sense than the Vic Sec fiasco. Network hypocrisy pure and simple.

  • Jay says:

    This is the year PETA should get a Super Bowl ad. CBS just opened the door for PSAs. PETA makes us proud! Submit one that will make the airwaves. BTW the veggie love ad is no worse than a Victoria’s Secret ad so boo NBC for not running it last year. I bet CBS could use the $$ right now. Hello PETA!

  • Thao says:

    I like the advertisement very much. NBC shouldn’t reject it.

  • Jason says:

    I really don’t know why this ad has been banned. thats the way people should feel about vegetables any right? Oh I think I know why most american hate vegetables I been just look at random people off the streets and count how many without beer bellies. thats just not right!

  • Patricia says:

    The only reason this was rejected was because all the meat eaters didn’t like it. That simple. It’s just like the goverment project to ban all small organic farms in America.

  • Lila says:

    it is kind of racy for daytime TV but even if it did show it would just make dudes horny…not wanna be vegetarians. in fact i don’t see how this will make anyone want to be a vegetarian…

  • Meaghan says:

    Wow. I find this advertisement to actually be quite disturbing. I get that PETA wants to try and grab people’s attention but there are many other ways to do so. I definitely believe that NBC was right in banning this. The only thing this ad seems to be selling is sexwhy don’t you actually try to intelligently shed light on your cause instead of exploiting women to try and gain support? I agree with PETA’s ideas in relation to stopping mistreatment against animals but I feel like in creating commercials like this you are just abusing one thing in order to stop the abuse of another. It doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Miranda says:

    I wouldn’t necessarily want children seeing this but NBC shows plenty of other super bowl ads that shouldn’t be seen. If this ad was aired I’m sure a lot of people would be curious and look into it. I can see somebody typing it into google now “Is it true vegetarians make better lovers?”

  • duli says:

    tung ola

  • Eeeehhhh says:

    Vegetarians have better sex? HOW? .. Why do they never fully back up their claims with proof.

  • Ken C says:

    I submit that PETA knew the ad would be rejected and counted on the free publicity to drive traffic to their website rather than paying $1 million or more for 30 seconds of air. Far more effective than a “tasteful” ad. In fact I’d say its Genius!

  • Jennifer Rodkey says:

    PETA what’s more important to you selling your ideals which are admirable or selling sex? It saddens me that the only “creative” ideas you could come up with to promote your ideals is a sex campaign. Add yourselves to the endless list of organization executives who promote the idea of flawless women perfect bodies perfect faceswith only one thing on their minds eating vegetables so they can be desired by men who can’t think beyond their penis. If you had invested the time and money into creating an Ad with class something tasteful with information on the true beauty health benefits of a vegan lifestyle maybe you could have earned the spot on NBC. This would have put you out there in the public arena selling your ideals and not the sex that completely overshadowed your message in your “rejected” add.

  • Miki says:

    Ha! PETA is smart. Why pay 3mill when you can get free publicity on the web? That said I still support PETA even if they do rely a bit too much on the shock factor rather than good old fashioned information.

  • michael mcferson says:

    THE ONLY TIME I’M NOT A VEGETARIAN IS WHEN I FORGET WHAT HAD TO HAPPEN TO GET MEAT PRODUCTS TO MY PLATE. SO I AS A DEEPLY ASHAMED SOON TO BE EXINFANTRYMAN OF THE ARMY APOLOGIZE AND ENCOURAGE ANYONE WHO CLAIMS TO LOVE ANIMALS TO OPPOSE THE MILITARY FOR ALL IT DOES TO ENSURE THE CONTINUANCE OF ANIMAL CRUELTY IN MILITARY OPERATIONS AND SOCIETY IN GENERAL. OH YEAH GREAT AD BY THE WAY.

  • sarah clark says:

    ya like there isnt worse things on t.v?

  • Robin says:

    I really love what PETA stands for. But this ad is a little much. Partially naked girls masturbating with veggies does not seem appropriate in any form. PETA should be above these kinds of ads. I thought they were better and should not lower themselves to the level of advertising that beer commercials do.

  • steven mccallister says:

    I am always perplexed that our society is comfortable with showing incredibly violent images on TV but gets so uptight about sex. In any event NBC objected to the ad because among other concerns a woman licked a pumpkin and rubbed asparagus on herself?! Are you kidding me? Setting aside general concerns about suggestive material on TV it is already on TV and having that debate now is pointless how is that any more suggestive than for example a KY Jelly commercial or a godaddy.com commercial or a Victoria’s Secret commercial? It isn’t but those corporations will generate a lot more overall ad revenue for the networks than PETA. It is a transparent double standard motivated by economic considerations. Shame on NBC.

  • agnes says:

    Women are beautiful. Women are sexy. Sex is great. Vegies are great. But this is inappropriate for TV. Have some respect for families and young viewers please.

  • stephanie says:

    I love veggies and fruit alot BUT I hate to say I did not like the ad just another uncomfortable commercial to watch in front of your teenages everyone coughs and says well I gotta go to bathroom or how about that last sports game errr uuhhh. Oh and I am a hot 40 yr old to without hangups but really it is embarrassing to watch sorry maybe try something new instead of sexy that might be as refreshing as the veggies.

  • Marielle says:

    seriously i’m just going to come right out and say it with no apologies whatsoever all you people who think that your child shouldn’t watch this video are EXTREMELY stupid. your innocent flower child that is probably going to grow up too sheltered to be able to function in society is going to be more scarred from watching the news than seeing this video. and to you people who think peta should make an ad that doesn’t get rejected… how ignorant can you BE? if you paid any attention to the world around you you might realize that the media immensely controlls what we see on TV magazines etc. they broadcast things that are going to sell and make MONEY. all they would be doing by allowing an ad from peta to be shown nationally would potentially be causing the meat industry to lose millions of dollars due to people converting to vegetarianism. and they wouldn’t want that because somewhere along the line someone is getting a paycheque from that company and if the company stops making money the paycheque doesn’t come. and to those who argue that this video doesn’t focus on the correct issue and that it should be geared more towards compassion for animals c’mon you and i both know that the only way to actually GET IT INTO SOMEONE’S HEAD about that would be to show footage of the animals actually having harm enflicted on them and there really is no way of doing that without there being blood and gore and the media wouldn’t allow such a thing because it might “offend” some people and yet again people wouldn’t want their children to see that kind of thing. perhaps you people need to start thiking outside of the box. there are enough ads geared towards having more compassion for animals YAWN BORING they OBVIOUSLY aren’t nabbing people’s attention because the problem still exists. perhaps if commercials such as these were actually ALLOWED then we would start to see a difference! and it’s about reaching a different audience right? superbowl jock’s would rather see a hot woman rather than some little farm animal. use your heads and stop being part of the problem. the only reason why things like this ad aren’t allowed is because of people with closed minds people like all of you who think peta went about this in the wrong way. there are way worse things in the world that your 6 or 8 year old child is being subjected too than ads like this. and maybe your little boy will want to eat his veggies more after seeing this movie. face it. sex is everywhere. it’s natural and healthy in most cases and you shoudn’t hide your child from it. it’s the fact that people portray sex as such a shamefull taboo that makes kids more interested in it and want to do it more at younger ages. i dare you to ask your 8 year old child to tell you everything he or she knows about sex. you will probably be shocked at their answer.

  • carla says:

    that video was LOL FUNNY!! It would be a great hit!!!!!

  • Amanda says:

    I think nbc is stupid. They can have the go daddy ads one with guys who cant have boners but yet this one is banned. As if kids dont know what sex is already.

  • luvarescue says:

    I understand the creativity of the ad and the reason why sexuality was used to demonstrate the appeal of veganism. With other commercials focusing on sex appeal this was a likely correlation. But I think people would have seen this and have gone huh? In which case a lot of money is wasted on ad dollars by a good nonprofit. I think depending on the target audience you do have to ‘mainstream’ your ads a bit. Shock value does not always resonate or achieve its intended goals. It is more effective in getting your message across to SOMETIMES go maintstream and get people to undersatnd the true ideologies of PETA. I find this to be effective when explaining to people why I am a donor or member of PETA why I am a vegetarian only buy crueltyfree products and only go rescue . . .

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