PETA Ad Controversy

Dubbed as one of the most controversial ad campaigns of all time, PETA’s campaign entitled “Holocaust on Your Plate” is an advertising nightmare that stirred up backlash around the world. The campaign, which compares the killing of animals to the killing of people in the Holocaust, was released in 2003 in an effort to stop people from eating animals and to promote a vegetarian lifestyle. Upon the release of this campaign, many victims and the families of Holocaust victims were left upset and offended. This topic stirs up important issues regarding the line in which ads and organizations go too far in trying to express their goals. At what point are ads harming groups of individuals rather than just raising awareness for an issue? This ad brought these questions into the forefront of the minds of many.

The question of harm brings to light the ethical issue surrounding this case. It is clear that this campaign caused psychological harm to many that viewed it, most notably those that have felt direct effects from the Holocaust. Although many agree that the killing of mass groups of animals is wrong, some feel that these ads have gone to far. The ethical dilemma surrounding this campaign comes from the question of whether the comparisons associated with these ads are ethically wrong due to the harm they are causing many of their viewers, or if these advertisements are in fact a truthful comparison.

Many felt that the comparison of the killing of animals to the killing of people in the Holocaust was unethical. In my opinion, this campaign was completely unethical and hurtful to many groups of society. Even if a group was not directly affected by Holocaust events, this is still a memory that hurts many people. PETA went too far with this ad, and they felt the consequences. Many wanted the ad removed, but PETA insisted that it not be removed. This choice helped the organization gain negative attention from many different groups, including the Jewish community.

This specific case brings to light the question of when do advertisements in the media go too far? This ad went too far. Although many know that PETA is known for their racy advertisements in an effort to get their message across, comparing the killing of animals to one of the worst events the world has ever seen is in bad taste. I believe that the team behind this campaign knew what was going to happen when they released it, and that many people would be upset by it. I think that they wanted this to purposefully happen in an effort to get people talking about the campaign. This is a classic example of when advertisements go too far, a trend that were are currently seeing all over many media outlets today. Because of this trend, many people are left with a bad taste in their mouths when the view some of the most prominent ads in today’s media and this alone paints a negative picture of society’s view of media professionals.


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