We're no strangers to having our ads banned. But we thought that we had a safe bet when we created an ad against the Canadian seal slaughter that features a cartoon drawn by celebrated New Yorker contributor Harry Bliss. In the cartoon, a seal sits at a bar and, in a play on words, tells the bartender his order: "Anything but a [certain brand of whiskey]."
We posted the ad on our website, and postcard reproductions of it were sent to Toronto bars to be placed on tables. Of course, it was meant to reference the barbaric bludgeoning and skinning of baby seals, not whiskey. But Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., the parent company of Canadian Club, sent us a cease and desist letter, telling us to immediately yank the ad. We promptly did so (which means that you can no longer find the ad on our site) because we didn't mean to offend the brand—which to its credit, doesn't conduct animal testing.
Our legal counsel told Canadian Club: "It was not a happy hour when PETA received your letter. Although we will put the cartoon on ice, it … brings needed attention to the hideous cruelty of the Canadian slaughter of baby seals, a spectacle so vile that even to contemplate the carnage on the ice, it's hard not to want a stiff drink."
A whiskey, perhaps?
Written by Michelle Sherrow