While Covergirl is well-known for the slogan Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Covergirl, animal activists are working to alter how individuals think of this saying and have created a slogan of their own: Sleezy, Nasty, Cruel Covergirl. Covergirl is not the only cosmetics company to use animal testing; other big brands such as L’Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, and Rimmel London also test on animals. Through the use of anti-branding campaigns, activists or “pranksters” work to re-contextualize the original meaning of an advertisement. In some of the Covergirl ads animals have replaced Covergirl models and models have been portray with harmful side effects—presumably from cosmetic testing; images used to condemn the use of animal testing. In the same way Jonah Pertetti email exchange foregrounded Nike’s use of sweatshop workers, the Covergirl ads bring attention to animal testing and direct ridicule to the Company’s Policies (Proctor and Gambles).
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is the largest animal rights organization ,that’s goal is to end animal cruelty. PETA uses various ‘culture jamming’ methods (or protest campaigns) to expose the cruel treatment of animals. PETA is widely known for their shocking imagery and videos that work to draw negative attention to the real campaigns through their use of fictional ads. According to PETA,
“although more than 1,700 companies have banned all animal tests, some corporations still force substances into animals’ stomachs and drip chemicals into rabbits’ eyes. These tests are not required by law, and they often produce inaccurate or misleading results—even if a product has blinded an animal, it can still be marketed to you.”
PETA has over 5 million members, however this large following and the success of PETA’s campaigns are highly reliant on the revolutionary potential of mass media. Mass media and communication networks have had an enormous role in supporting culture jamming networks. While Pertetti “sweatshop” shoe order was never completed, his email exchange with Nike took on a life of its own through the power of media ecology. Pertetti stated that media ecology transformed his private email into a global affair and facilitated his connection with an entire community of individuals passionate about the same issue.
In Pranking Rhetoric: “Culture Jamming” as Media Activism, Christine Harold states that these pranks can “pose a “direct challenge to all verbal and behavioral routines, and [undermine] the sovereign authority of words, language, visual images, and social conventions in general.” Contemporary commercial culture depends upon consumers having somewhat routinized responses to words and images; however, these responses need not be completely homogenous” (Harold). Therefore, culture jamming can foster the production of new discourses and work to unite individuals interested in a common cause together. These acts become powerful resources of intervention into “the complex world of commercial discourse,” and allow for emerging new discourses to be formed (Harold).
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