PETA Advertisement Analysis

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an internationally known non-profit animal rights organization. Their goal is to promote an animal-free lifestyle, an idea shown by their slogan, “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way.” (PETA.org) they are known for their extreme protesting, advertisements, and boycotts.

In 2011 PETA released an advertisement featuring Pamela Anderson, a vegan Canadian-American Actress. In this advertisement, Pamela is in a bikini with various body parts labeled like an animal ready for slaughter. PETA is comparing Pamela to these animals, saying, “All Animals Have the Same Parts” and “Pamela Anderson for PETA”. This advertisement uses many basic strategies to keep the attention of the viewer, causing them to think about it and relate to it. Strategies used to accomplish this range from simple ones like color usage and placement to complex ones like font type.

A basic breakdown of this ad shows PETA uses many different strategies to gain the attention of the viewer. Pamela’s legs create an upward flow, forcing your eyes toward the top text, as well as her face and breasts. She is also wearing a purple bikini that matches the color of the text, this is done over a light background to draw the eye towards the text, her breasts, rump, and her eyes; also edited to be the same shade of purple. The most important words have a formal and cornered look, while the superfluous text is smooth and flows freely. This is done to draw your attention to the more important words. The rigid corners contrast against the peaceful and silky background.

The smooth, flowing text creates a feeling of purity, which is why the only two things written with it are Pamela Anderson’s name and PETA’s logo. The white background also forms and atmosphere of purity and balance, and emanates a more neutral tone to balance it with the outgoing purple. Color is one of the key aspects in this image because it manipulates the viewer into thinking what the creators of the ad want them to. “In an appropriately titled study called ‘Impact of Color in Marketing’, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone (depending on the product).” (helpscout.net) PETA put a lot of thought into their color choice because of this; it is by far the most important part of an ad.

This advertisement is marketed toward both genders, with a focus on ages 20-60. Pamela Anderson is extremely famous, and having started her film career in 1990, she is old enough for almost every age group to recognize. Women look up to her as a physical and personal role model. The advertisement also uses a soft purple color, which is very feminine. Men are attracted to the ad because of the sexual themes. A beautiful woman wearing little clothing and arching her back will draw the attention of most men.

PETA is trying to sell the idea of a vegetarian lifestyle in this ad. There is more to this ad than meets the eye though. They are equating humans and animals by comparing Pamela to a slaughtered animal and saying they have similar body parts, thus making the audience feel guilty about eating meat. They are also equating vegetarianism with sex. This is done by showing an attractive woman in skimpy clothing and surrounding her with pro-vegetarian messages.

Pamela has been a huge sex icon since 1989 when she first appeared on the cover of Playboy Magazines, so using her as the model only furthers this comparison. Using sex to promote non- sexual ideas is nothing new. Researchers “looked at 3,232 full-page ads published in 1983, 1993 and 2003 in the popular magazines Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Esquire, Playboy, Newsweek and Time. They found sexual imagery in 20 percent of the ads. Using sex to sell everything from alcohol to banking services has increased over the years: 15 percent of ads studied used sex as a selling point in 1983. That percentage grew to 27 percent in 2003.” (businessnewsdaily.com) Sex is becoming more prominent in the advertising market because it is effective. Lastly, PETA is trying to sell a healthy lifestyle, and they imply that becoming vegetarian will give the viewer a fit body like Pamela.

Overall, this advertisement does an excellent job using these strategies to gain a viewer’s attention. Pamela Anderson is the perfect model to use for this type of ad because of her fame surpassing gender and age differences. The fact that she is vegan also adds legitimacy to the ad. The color choices are important, and help with getting the audience to look over the entire ad. PETA also does a superb job reaching their main demographic: men and women ages 20-60. This ad is just one of millions that use a combination of color, different fonts, and the desires of the viewer to get their message across. These ads are everywhere, using subliminal messages to persuade the viewer to buy a product or change their opinion.

According to marketer, “Worldwide, digital ad spending passed the $100-billion mark for the first time last year.” (eMarketer2012) Companies are willing to invest large amounts of money into advertising because of its effectiveness. Advertising is an industry based on deception and illusion. People underestimate the power of good advertising, making them vulnerable to all of these techniques.

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