Presidents, hip-hop moguls, and now PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews have taken the stage at New York arts-and-culture venue 92YTribeca. Dan, together with new “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” model Cornelia Guest, New York Times advertising columnist Stuart Elliott, and Newsweek and Daily Beast celebrity columnist Lloyd Grove, discussed how PETA’s eye-catching naked campaigns and celebrity collaborations push animal rights issues into mainstream media outlets.
If the audience members came in with doubts or criticism, we’re betting that they left with insight into PETA’s tactics after hearing Dan explain that PETA has wonderful stories about building houses for “backyard dogs,” rescuing animals from cruel circuses and laboratories, and much more—but what news outlets like Inside Edition want to cover is controversy, nudity, and celebrities.
Although he was there to serve as an unbiased voice, Stuart Elliott noted that PETA’s ability to create “buzz” through naked ads and the use of celebrities in protests was decades ahead of modern social-media campaigns. He also commented that the success of PETA’s “shockvertising” has persuaded other organizations to follow suit. I guess imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery.