March 11, 2010
Mr. Mayor, please call People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Call them and close a deal that could change the way we fund services in Colorado Springs.
“We are just waiting for the mayor to call, and we are excited to put something together that will be a win-win for everyone involved,” said Kristina Addington, campaign coordinator for PETA, in an interview with The Gazette’s opinion department.
PETA, based in Norfolk, Va., heard about our city’s well-publicized budget constraints. Recent stories in the mainstream national press have told of city officials turning off streetlights and eliminating trash cans and trash service from city parks. This offer means our city’s bad national media rap could lead to good things, if Mayor Lionel Rivera negotiates a lucrative and sustainable deal for the City Council to approve.
“We want to advertise on trash cans, so the money we pay for the ads could fund the restoration of trash service,” Addington said. “In addition to paying for trash service, our ads would get residents of Colorado Springs excited about saving the planet and saving animals.”
Addington says the best thing anyone can do to stop human-caused global warming (a hypothesis) is to stop eating meat.
“Nobody has a bigger carbon footprint than the meat industry,” Addington said. “So you can spend $80,000 on a hybrid car and change out your light bulbs, but the best thing you can do is stop eating meat and go vegan. This costs nothing, because we’ll send you a vegan starter kit for free.”
Whatever. If you see a PETA trash can and feel the sudden urge to save Mother Earth from a theory, go ahead give up meat. Ads inform and attempt to persuade. They have no power we do not give them. If you want the amazing vegan starter kit, go to www.goveg.com, or call 1-888-VEGFOOD. Otherwise, eat what you please and enjoy the lovely PETA ads.
PETA has a large and effective marketing budget. Even some of the most carnivorous Americans have made their peace with PETA. Once a confrontational bully, PETA has become a model of friendly and efficient marketing genius. The trash cans it proposes for Colorado Springs would each feature one of the organization’s beautiful Lettuce Girls (cleavage covered with lettuce) and the following harmless message: “Meat Trashes the Planet.”
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If PETA strikes a deal with Colorado Springs, Addington says, the organization plans to publicize the arrangement nationally. That would bring free positive publicity to our city. Just as negative publicity can reduce tourism, positive publicity stands to increase it. The positive publicity could lead other businesses and organizations — perhaps the beef, dairy and poultry industries — to seek similar marketing arrangements with City Hall.
Imagine if we could find a way to get Home Depot, or Scotts Miracle-Gro, to sponsor the care and watering of grass in our parks. A national ad campaign, paid for by the sponsor, could show off the grass in Colorado Springs — a city known for its plan to let the grass go brown with callous disregard for children. We would get free lawn care and publicity bought by a company trying take partial credit for preserving and enhancing our city’s beauty. It’s a great opportunity for Colorado Springs and a savvy lawn-care products business.
We could try to entice a major sporting goods manufacturer to sponsor our city pools. If PETA can win in Colorado Springs, so can anyone else product or cause.
Colorado Springs has problems the rest of the country keeps hearing about. This creates an obvious opportunity for national marketers to benefit by helping solve our problems.
PETA saw this opportunity and wasted no time proposing a partnership. This should change the way we seek to fund public amenities. Before using local money for local projects, we should seek outside money for local projects with partnerships that benefit all parties involved.
Let’s get started with PETA, then pursue more arrangements that are equally brilliant. It stands only to breathe new life into the economy of Colorado Springs, with outside money and national publicity that would improve our image and increase tourism to the country’s most beautiful place. — Wayne Laugesen, editorial page editor, for the editorial board