Over the top campaigns?

I’m all for getting  green living information out there and there’s nothing like shock tactics from time to time in order to get the message across. However, I think sometimes it goes a little too far; particularly in relation to animal rights groups and the meat industry.

These organizations do have a lot of great things to say from both a humane and environmental point of view. For example, the livestock industry is one of the major contributors to global warming – it’s an important message they carry and one that requires a great deal of care.

Probably one of the best known “shock jocks” of the animal rights world is PETA. They are a powerful organization with a ton of cash to throw at media stunts it seems; like this one. Another recent one prior to that was released shortly after a shark attack on a young man in the USA – PETA called it “Payback is hell“. Coincidence? Hmm. Regardless, it misrepresents the shark and just reinforces a stereotype that *causes* the destruction of these magnificent animals.

You might be thinking “well Michael, you’ve just given them some added coverage, so the campaigns are good!”. As someone involved with marketing as a career, I can tell you that the old saying of all publicity is good publicity is an utter myth.

I often wonder if organizations that go to these sorts of theatrical extremes do more harm to their cause than good; actually discrediting the organization – particularly with more wary folks.

The danger is that an organization feels the pressure to make each campaign more harder hitting than the last to get around perceived numbness to the message they are conveying; whereas what might be happening is a case of people being frightened away.

Where I can see these sorts of shock tactics very beneficial is in relation to the tobacco industry; again, this is another industry that wreaks havoc on the environment as well as general human health. The difference is the shock tactics help *prevent* the uptake of tobacco smoking – they don’t work so well on existing smokers. Meat and tobacco are two very different issues anyway.

I’ve had some direct dealings with PETA – they are very corporate and the person I communicated with had somewhat of a “holier than thou” attitude; certainly not the sort of thing that would win the hearts and minds of meat-eaters. Perhaps a small dose of sunshine and puppies (or better publicity of those aspects) thrown in with the blood and gore might help.

While I applaud the passion of animal rights groups and believe that at times being very confrontational is effective, something I would like to see less of is headlines like this:

Proof That Eating Meat Makes Your Brain Shrink

and a little more of this:

A Great Tasting Burger – Without The Beef!

The latter would certainly grab my attention anyway :). PETA needs to spend more time and money in talking with folks who eat meat rather than talking at them in my opinion.

Here on Green Living Tips, it’s been my experience that the articles more weighted towards positive reinforcement and simple solutions towards environmental issues fare much better in terms of interest than the ones where I focus on the doom and gloom aspect – and believe me, the dark stuff is a heckuva lot easier to write as there’s so much of it right on our doorstep now.