PETA’s Sexy Vegetable Super Bowl Ad Banned Twice

Animal rights group PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals) know a thing or two about generated buzz through controversy.


In 2009 it released a highly controversial ‘Vegetarians have better sex’ advert which it claimed was intended to be shown during the Super Bowl – America’s most watched advertising platform. Which inevitably was banned, but not before the campaign has generated considerable buzz.


Sexy models strip down sexily to lick and stroke vegetables without a man in sight. Unsurprisingly, US network NBC refused to show the saucy 30-second spot because it ‘depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards’.


NBC criticised the following scenes:

  • A pumpkin being licked
  • Hands touching a breast while broccoli is being eaten
  • A pumpkin shown with raised legs
  • Asparagus on a lap as if it was being used in masturbation


PETA wanted to use the clip to counter the traditional blockbuster Super Bowl ads from companies like KFC and McDonald’s.


Lisa Lange, vice chairman of PETA, says she sees it as double standards: “PETA’s veggie ads are locked out while ads for fried chicken and burgers are allowed, even though these foods make Americans fat, sick, and boring in bed. Sexy women and the Super Bowl go together like bees and flowers. Whether you’re a 250-pound linebacker, a fan, or a ‘football widow’, the smartest thing you can do to make sure that you’re around for next year’s Super Bowl is to go vegetarian.”


And to repeat the trick, the 2009/10 initiative generated so much buzz, that in the lead up to the 2010/11 Super Bowl PETA put together a website anbd viral of out-takes from a previously banned ad released online to gain another round of ‘banned ad’ publicity.




A classic approach to generated PR around an issue – get your advert banned. Sceptics will suggest PETA’s sexy strategy was deliberate. Either way, with 100,000s of online plays it certainly generated publicity for its cause.


Even the parodies and spoofs have racked up similar numbers of views.


That’s viral for you.












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