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Seal Clubbing Ad Put on Ice

Written by PETA | March 23, 2011

We’re no strangers to having our ads banned. But we thought that we had a safe bet when we created an ad against the Canadian seal slaughter that features a cartoon drawn by celebrated New Yorker contributor Harry Bliss. In the cartoon, a seal sits at a bar and, in a play on words, tells the bartender his order: “Anything but a [certain brand of whiskey].”

We posted the ad on our website, and postcard reproductions of it were sent to Toronto bars to be placed on tables. Of course, it was meant to reference the barbaric bludgeoning and skinning of baby seals, not whiskey. But Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., the parent company of Canadian Club, sent us a cease and desist letter, telling us to immediately yank the ad. We promptly did so (which means that you can no longer find the ad on our site) because we didn’t mean to offend the brand—which to its credit, doesn’t conduct animal testing.

Our legal counsel told Canadian Club: “It was not a happy hour when PETA received your letter. Although we will put the cartoon on ice, it … brings needed attention to the hideous cruelty of the Canadian slaughter of baby seals, a spectacle so vile that even to contemplate the carnage on the ice, it’s hard not to want a stiff drink.”

A whiskey, perhaps?

Kyle May/cc by 2.0

Written by Michelle Sherrow

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  • estephan500 says:

    Like most of the other people replying here, I think it is totally clear that a company spends plenty of time trying to keep itself associated with positive things. Here you guys distribute postcards in BARS with a cartoon whose caption says “anything but canadian club?” Hey, smart idea, folks! Why would that company ever be so dumb as to find that a problem? Maybe you should try to remove “funny puns about seal clubbing” from your strategy. Also, you should look at your staff and ask why you have people for whom it wasn’t immediately clear that this was a bad idea, and needlessly dragged a totally unrelated company into a seal clubbing campaign. That’s the real question… why does your staff include people for whom this seemed like a smart campaign.

  • L says:

    I can understand why the whiskey company would want the ad pulled, they don’t want to get involved with any of this. Though I’m wondering more, why is peta making such a big deal out of the Canadian seal hunt, which I am 100% and am ashamed to be associated with seeing as I’m Canadian and all, and mentioning absolutely nothing about the seal hunt in Namibia? As far as I could tell, anyway. Over 90,000 seals, the vast majority still nursing infants, are slaughtered in absolutely inhumane ways. On top of the fur seals hunted are listed as conservation dependent by CITES. So why no mention of this? Surely the all seals deserve the protection we’re asking for, not just the Canadian ones.

  • Hanny says:

    First of all, of course the whiskey company asked for it to removed! They dont want to be associated with seal clubbing. It’s insane that you people would be so rude to the company. Secondly, it would be nice if it wasnt referred to as the Canadian Seal Clubbing. It give Canada a reputation we dont deserve:)

  • Seth says:

    Couldn’t help but notice that the lettering font used for the cartoon is exactly the same as the Canadian Club logo. No wonder the company was visibly upset.

  • Mary Roberson says:

    It was clear to me, from what I read, that the reference was about the barbaric Canadian Seal Trade and had absolutely no reference to that particular brand of whiskey. What a shame they pulled the ad, it would have helped bring light to such an important issue.

  • Melissa says:

    I think they are ridiculous for asking to remove the add. everyone understands what it meant. they are just a dumb company.

  • trend internet security says:

    Yeah, Whisky is waiting!

  • Lizzy says:

    They shouldn’t have asked Peta to remove the cartoon. Anyone with half a brain can understand that it was not meant literally (as in the brand of spirit, so it’s not like it would have affected sales or anything. It was a lighthearted way to bring a serious issue into focus and I strongly feel that the ad should have been left. As a non-animal testing company, they should be honored to have their brand shed light on these horrible crimes against animals.

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