Hard hitting PETA campaign highlights animal cruelty in fashion

The new PETA campaign created by House337 stars actress and comedian Jessie Cave.

Georgie Moreton

Deputy Editor, BITE Creativebrief


Farmyard animal puppets have long been used as a tool to educate children but in PETA’s latest campaign, the usual characters are far more unsettling when sharing the harsh realities of how clothes are made.

The new campaign created by House 337 has been designed to highlight animal cruelty in fashion, putting abused animals centre stage to explain to audiences directly what happens to animals in the process of making clothes. It is the first time the charity has teamed up with the agency to campaign against wearing any animal-based products at all, even wool, and encouraged consumers to embrace vegan fashion.

The campaign, titled ‘Red River Farm’ has been created with production studio BlinkInk and directed by Will Wightman. It stars actress and comedian Jessie Cave alongside singing farmyard animal characters. Set on a farm reminiscent of classic children’s TV shows, Cave meets seemingly cheery puppet animals who burst into an upbeat, catchy tune yet on closer inspection when audiences listen to the lyrics the gruesome song is about the cruel treatment they endure in the name of fashion. The juxtaposition of the child-friendly setting with the horrors of the subject matter makes for an unsettling watch.

This powerful video is part of PETA’s ongoing work to re-educate the public about using animal products in fashion. While the film gives an explicit, unflinching explanation of how clothes are really made and the consequences for the animals involved, the campaign ends with a message of hope asking the audience to: “Shop like their lives depend on it”.

“A big part of the challenge with these sorts of projects is finding a fresh and engaging way to talk to people that avoids using the same old finger-wagging shock tactics many charities use. That is where our band of cute-but-grotesque puppets came in,” explained Creative Director Steve Hawthorne at House 337.

Amidst a cost of living crisis, political unrest and the ongoing recovery from the pandemic, charities face a difficult time navigating communications with audiences who are in a state of paralysis. While many have motivations to make a positive social and environmental impact, the current social climate has left many at a loss of where to start. In this campaign, PETA takes a strong stance and unafraid approach to the issues they aim to resolve, giving the audiences cold hard facts and presenting audiences with a moral challenge. 

“This campaign is part entertainment and part education. We believe it is a compelling and powerful way to highlight what is done to animals in the name of fashion,” says Elisa Allen, Vice President of Programs and Operations at PETA. She continues: “This sharable video will support us in spreading the word that animals are not materials and inspire people to shop for vegan clothing and accessories.”

Through subverting genre expectations, the punchy campaign is designed to stay in the minds of audiences and raise awareness of animal cruelty. 

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