Super Bowl Ads and PETA

OK. I’ll admit it. I’m looking forward to watching the Super Bowl game Sunday. But I’m a Steelers fan with strong ties still to the City of Champions. And what else is there to do in NE Ohio and most other parts of the country on the first day of the worst month of the year? Since the game itself generally isn’t all that compelling, I expect most people do plant themselves in front of the TV for five hours our more for the party — and the ads.

And even in the midst of the recession, NBC has managed to sell nearly all of the 67 advertising spots available, at around $3 million or so for 30 seconds. Wow. Think what John Thain could have done to his office with that kind of money. I digress. (Note to self: At least 67 opportunities to get up from the TV and get a drink, something to eat, curse that constant Tweeting sound upstairs on the computer, head for the head, and so on. Plan accordingly.)

GM won’t be among the advertisers. Neither will PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. GM most likely doesn’t have enough cash these days. PETA most likely doesn’t either. But in any event,  it received a penalty flag from NBC because its ad was too “sexually explicit.” Here’s from The Washington Post, “Veggie Tales, It’s Not: PETA’s Super Bowl Ad Is Too Much For NBC To Stomach“:

NBC has nixed a new Super Bowl ad from the animal rights activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals because the ad is too sexually explicit.

It shows beautiful women, dressed in sexy undies, getting very intimate.

With vegetables.

Particularly pumpkins. Total sex maniacs, those pumpkins.

“Studies Show Vegetarians Have Better Sex,” reads the tag line.

The ad suggests that changing over to a healthier, vegetarian diet — or, alternatively, dressing like a broccoli — will help guys attract hot, horny models.

Clearly, this is a story that requires more direct and personal investigation. So as an inspired quasi-journalist (or is it citizen journalist?, semi-retired douche bag?) I went to PETA’s website. PETA says NBC ruled the ad out of bounds, saying it “depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards.” Ouch. NBC has standards?

Oh well. I doubt that PETA ever expected the ad to grace the airwaves during the Super Bowl. But the fact that it has been rejected by NBC now gives it some great appeal and commercial oomph on the Internet. Maybe that is the point of social media and viral marketing.

Anyway, I guess the PETA ad will now take its place among the others —, Wynn Las Vegas, Airborne and others — that can now be found in the Super Bowl Banned Advertising Hall of Fame. Probably just as well. As I understand it, one of the proposed PETA ads made the claim that “eating meat caused impotence.” Country has enough economic woes. Can’t possibly afford to have millions of viewers swear off hamburgers, chicken wings and so on.

And while I was in the midst of my scholarly research into the virtues or lack thereof of ads like the ones for, I did have this thought that social media and viral marketing are taking on the qualities of a massive chain letter.

For instance, I was tagged yesterday on Facebook by someone who wanted me to list 25 personal items and then pass the list on to 25 “friends” with a similar request. I appreciate that actually. In my dotage I enjoy almost any connection. Yet I’ve decided not to send the request to 25 of my “friends.” Who knows. They may actually be working. Or out ordering ground beef and chicken wings for the game.

Still, I’ve started on my list of 25 items. Here it is.

1. Go Steelers! 2. Go Steelers! 3. Go Steelers! And so on.


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