peta

“Worse than being misquoted is not being quoted at all,” – Former White House communications director, political pundit, and 1992 GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie saved a group of young school children visiting his Trenton office last week from a creepy, crawly spider.

He smacked it good, scraped up its remains and tucked the corpse in his suit pocket.

It didn’t take long for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to publicly scold the governor for his insensitivity to one of the smallest of all of Darwin’s creatures.

“He probably did it without thinking,” PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk said.  “Some people put the spider outside, but spiders are often scary to people, and that can prevent them from pondering their worth.”

Soon after late-night-television comedian Jimmy Kimmel had a field day at the expense of the collective worth of both Christie and PETA.

PETA was thrilled. One would suspect that Christie and his gubernatorial handlers were not so thrilled.

To PETA, “All Press is Good Press”…even negative coverage.

Just get the name spelled right.

What does animal rights group PETA and “Worse-than-being-misquoted” Pat Buchanan have in common?

Not much.

Having acknowledged the obvious, both historically have demonstrated the ability to draw gobs of media interest, and both harbor the concept that attention…any attention…is far better than being ignored.

And when it comes to employing attractive female public nudity to draw photographers and videographers, it is no contest between PETA and Pat. Sorry Pat. Keep your shirt on.

PETA’s naked philosophy is simple: Exposure = Discussion = Awareness.

And you just thought Pam Anderson was wearing that lettuce bikini because she likes…lettuce bikinis. There is a method to her undress.

Marci Hansen, who spent five years as a guerilla marketer for PETA, assessed the NGO (non-governmental organization) that has at times been accused of crossing the line between being infamous and being notorious. PETA does not seem to mind being compared to the antics of Greenpeace as long as it succeeds in stimulating a conversation on protecting animal rights.

The goal of social marketers…not to be confused with social media…is to participate and even to lead a conversation online or through conventional media. The PETA strategy is to be at least a part of the conversation, if not the conversation itself, with the goal of safeguarding animals. Does every tactic work? No. Does PETA learn from its tactics? That seems to be modus operandi behind the equation: Success + Failures = Refinement.

Hansen extolled that just having the facts are not enough to win the argument. PETA needs to be good at playing the game…and prolific at drawing attention. Pam Anderson works. Pink works. Sir Paul McCartney works. Good Charlotte works…even labeling Burger King as Murder King works.

Has all of this helped or hindered Marci’s career? It seems the answer is yes and no.

Should aspiring public relations pros work for a notorious NGO even though this kind of association may spell curtains for those seeking employment for firms with a fiduciary eye on expanding the top line and maintaining a solid bottom line? In our segmentation society, where everybody and everything is sliced and diced, labeled and categorized, does the PETA imprimatur potentially spell doom for one’s chances in conventional public relations?

In answering this question, consider that  Marci is the co-founder for SheerID, a Eugene, Oregon-based software technology startup instantaneously verifying student or military status for those offering online discounts to these large…there’s that word again…segments of society.

Marci was gracious enough to lecture a small gathering of students, and reflected that she experienced some difficulty as a result of her PETA past, but also said that many are looking for someone who understands guerilla marketing and other means to draw media attention.

In a world in which the flack-to-media ratio is 3.6-to-1.0, securing attention from the dwindling number of reporters, editors, analysts etc. is getting ever tougher.

The answer to all of these questions boils down to talent and perseverance. Marci has a combination of both in spades. Does this mean that someone should rush off to tell the PETA, Greenpeace, Amnesty International stories and not have a second thought about it, even though she or he may be a true believer?

As the Wizard of Westwood John Wooden once said: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

One thing is certain, working for an infamous, bordering on notorious, NGO is far better than shilling for the absolute nadir of public relations advocacy, Big Tobacco.

Ain’t that right Nick Naylor?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/05/07/jimmy-kimmel-on-chris-christies-spider-squashing-skills-video/?wpisrc=nl_pmpol

http://www.peta.org/

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/05/06/watch-n-j-governor-saved-school-children-from-spider-peta-isnt-impressed/#ixzz2T1jBKVSj

http://www.sheerid.com/our-team/

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