written by: Zhu Lin Cherilyn

Despite the riskiness of a creative PR stunt, PETA Asia steps out its comfort zone, teams up with Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok and launches “The Leather Work” pop-up store in May this year at CentralWorld [1].

Using fear appeal to convey the message, “Behind the Leather” aims to highlight the cruelty of the manufacturing process of exotic-skin products, to reduce the slaughter of pythons and crocodiles and most importantly, to modify consumer behavior on the consumption of these products. This unconventional stunt successfully raises public attention to the issue through well selection of venue, clever use of symbolization to convey the message clearly, and real life engagement with customers to increase effectiveness.


Thailand has the largest crocodile farming industry, according to PETA Asia [2]. By choosing Bangkok as the destination to run the stunt, PETA is able to communicate directly to the stakeholders including government officials, manufacturers, and customers who are interested in the high-end leather product industry. Placing the pop-up store at CentralWorld is also a wise decision since customers who shop at the hippest mall in Bangkok are more likely to purchase high-end products. Thus, these decisions enable PETA to pinpoint the issue at the right place to the right people.


The stunt takes an unprecedented step of fear appeal and the extremeness is what makes it an effective and successful stunt. Each of the fake leather products symbolizes the miserable life that the innocent animals endure and the fake flesh and beating heart remind customers that every leather product came from a living animal, being brutally killed, skinned and put on fancy price tags by humans. An image does worth a thousand words, but “The Leather Works” stands up for the voiceless and proves that in fact, the unspoken story behind the animals worth a thousand images.


Real life engagement with customers further enhances the effectiveness of conveying the message. In addition to visual, the stunt utilizes tactile approach and the message behind is directly revealed to and received by customers, without offending any stakeholders. Although the effectiveness of the stunt is not guaranteed, the engagement at least urges customers to give a second thought or look for alternatives when they pass by any high-end stores selling luxurious leather products next time.


Notwithstanding the potential risk of audiences having negative feelings, PETA Asia courageously launches the stunt and indeed attracts top-tier media outlets [3] to cover the event. Its YouTube video as well hits more than 3 million viewers. Moreover, being awarded five Lions at Cannes Lions 2016 [4] further proves that “Behind the Leather” is more than worthy of receiving applause and appreciation from audiences around the world.


[1] Learn more about “Behind the Leather” at http://www.petaasia.com/skinsen/

[2] Read more about exotic-skin industry in Thailand at http://www.petaasia.com/skins/

[3] News coverage of Huffington Post on “Behind the Leather” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/peta-leather-video_us_573a540ae4b08f96c183ed5b 

[4] “Behind the Leather” at Cannes 2016 http://www.petaasia.com/news/behind-the-leather-wins-gold-lions-cannes/