A well-lit, upscale pop-up store in the heart of one of Bangkok’s malls named ‘The Leather Work’ invites all fans of leather products in the beginning of PETA’s latest advertising campaign ‘Behind the Leather’. On the surface, these exotic leather hand bags, sleek gloves, and gorgeous shoes look luxe and chic, invoking interest from random customers. As these patrons go on to browse, however, moving on to select an item of interest and try using it, the campaign’s hard-hitting shock value reveals itself.
Beating ‘hearts’ sit within luxury hand bags, ‘blood’ pours out of slim-fitted gloves and the insides of sleek wallets sport ‘sinew’. This unsettling creation by the Ogilvy & Mather Advertising team, Thailand is as frightening as it is direct, blunt and impactful. While the animal rights violations and gruesome underbelly of the leather industry is known vaguely at the back of most people’s minds, PETA’s potent campaign aims to visualise that reality by bringing to life nightmarish imagery.
This jarring video has already gotten over 50 million views. Reiterating the need for the shock value impact of this anti-leather campaign, CEO of PETA India Poorva Joshipura told
Indian Express, “Every year, hundreds of thousands of reptiles are crudely bludgeoned and skinned alive — all for the sake of so-called ‘luxury’ shoes, belts and bags.” A PETA statement described the gory reality behind the leather industry, talking about how snakes are nailed to trees so that their bodies can be cut open from one end to another, skinned alive for ‘snake leather’ after which their bodies are thrown away. Owing to the slow metabolism of these animals, it might take hours for them to die. As for lizards, their bodies are often decapitated, and for some animals, the ‘leather’ is ripped off their bodies as they are skinned alive.
The PETA website comments, “Crocodiles in Thailand are being farmed in the most inhumane of conditions. They are crammed into putrid tanks and ponds before being subjected to the cruelest of slaughter practices; being shot or hammered to shatter their spines and cause paralysis. Some are skinned alive. And an average handbag requires the slaughter of not one, but four crocodiles. The blood, in demand for its purported medicinal properties, is drawn from the animal while the meat and hide is processed.”
It adds, “Thailand also has the largest crocodile farming industry in the world where about 700,000 are raised annually. None are expected to survive.”
The blood and guts that sit in closets in the form of leather belts, jackets and handbags are highlighted in PETA’s ‘Behind the Leather’ campaign, urging fashion-conscious individuals to be animal rights-conscious as well, and take a second to think about the repercussions of their purchases.
Watch the campaign video below: