By Gamer_152 6 Comments
Often, when I feel that an issue has been covered before by someone much smarter and more articulate than me, and when I’ve already said just about everything I want to say about something in online discussion areas, I refrain from blogging about that thing. However, given the subject matter in this case, I think it’s important to get the word out about this in any way possible.
For those of you who don’t yet know, animal rights activists PETA have recently released a flash RPG they’re calling Pokémon: Black & Blue. In it you take on the role of a team of Pokémon fighting back against their cruel masters who resemble animal testers, circus ring leaders, and other potential threats to animal welfare. Already, plenty of gaming and news outlets are reporting on PETA’s new publicity project and already, gamers across the board seem to be getting up in arms about this.
Once again we’re all falling into PETA’s trap and this has to stop. Two things must be understood here; firstly, PETA are an organisation who should not be receiving any kind of promotion, unless it comes with the very strong message that they should be avoided at all costs, and secondly, PETA’s marketing campaigns are designed to trick people into promoting them, often through outright deception.
In case you’re not familiar with the history or internal workings of PETA, I implore you to look into them. In fact, if you can find it there’s a great episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit on them, but for now I think this infographic will do. If nothing else, the one thing you need to know about PETA is that the so-called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals kill the vast majority of animals which actually come into their care, but a scary number of people just aren’t aware of this fact, and support the organisation thinking they’re genuinely helping animals. What’s more, every time money goes to PETA because someone is trying to help animal rights, that’s a donation that doesn’t go to the other charities that are genuinely trying to aid animals and not doing what PETA does.
Unfortunately, while PETA may have highly flawed ideologies and disturbing behaviours, they also have a lot of advertising power, with a marketing budget of over 30 million dollars. This makes them frighteningly effective at marketing, and they have found a very effective technique for maintaining and spreading awareness of themselves; raising controversy. Their campaigns in the past which have involved such activities as locking naked women in cages, depicting women who’ve been beaten and bruised during sex, or comparing the slaughtering of chickens to the holocaust are a clear sign that they’re looking for their message to be carried by controversy. They know the best way to get people saying their name is through shocking imagery and questionable content.
Unluckily for us, they seem to have latched onto the fact that one of the easiest groups to stir up outrage with is gamers. We’re a group of people who are able to spread our opinions quickly and effectively, given how connected we are to the world wide web, many of us are very forward with our opinions, and many of us aren’t calm and rational when confronted with something we don’t like, but instead immature and angry beyond reason.
This isn’t the first time PETA have tried to raise awareness through gamer outrage, and it won’t be the last. In fact, this is the fifth time this has happened. There have been four flash games PETA have released before now that have either used a beloved game as a jumping-off point for their message, or have directly attacked that game, and every time this has happened the gaming community has raised hell over it. PETA continue targeting gamers specifically because they know they get exactly the reaction they want that way, and every time one of us flips out and starts yelling about PETA, that’s more publicity for them. That’s more publicity for the organisation that is putting thousands of animals to death using the donations of unknowing supporters who think they’re doing good.
By all means, talk about PETA, but when you do, don't just spread their name about and discuss their marketing materials, that’s exactly the kind of thing that’s helping them thrive. When you talk about PETA, show that these campaigns are a ploy for attention, inform people just how fucked up they really are as an organisation, and donate to and/or raise awareness for genuinely helpful animal-based charities that PETA is hamstringing like the World Wildlife Fund, the ASPCA, or the NSPCA. That’s how to really hurt PETA. Thanks for reading.