Cafe Society

PETA can't get its impotence billboard up in Denver

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has had a beef with Denver before, most recently when PETA's McCruelty statue planned for the 16th Street Mall was determined to violate Denver sign ordinances.

This time, PETA's billboard of a sexy, sausage-draped model has been snubbed by the city (correction: the billboard companies denied PETA's request.)

"When we heard about the cattle industry annual convention and National Cattlemen's Beef Association trade show, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to reach cattlemen and let everyone know the benefits of a vegan diet," explains PETA's Lauren Stroyeck. So PETA contacted the companies that control most of Denver's billboards to book space during the cattlemen's convention, which is now under way, but USA Outdoor, Lamar Outdoor and CBS Outdoor all turned down the request.

The billboard shows a gingham-bikini-wearing brunette with sausages around her neck, an image no worse than others gracing billboards around town. But it was the message to the side of this photo that set off the prude alarms at local billboard companies.

All three companies rejected the ad because it was too explicit, Stroyeck says. As USA Outdoor put it: "The direct sexual innuendo is the biggest problem. The word 'come' then directly talking about impotence leaves little to the imagination. And the girl holding sausage links around her neck on top of that -- it's all too much."

"They submitted it, and we didn't accept it," says Lamar's Hal Kilshaw. "There's two problems with this: One is, it's kind of implied language about sexuality that we think is inappropriate, and two, the link between eating meat and impotence -- we're not convinced of that at all. We think it would be misleading to run the billboard."

But PETA considers the campaign a public service. "PETA wants to turn clogged-up carnivores on to the wonders of 'veggie Viagra' -- vegan cooking -- as an easy way to make the world a happier place for animals and lovers," PETA vice president Tracy Reiman said in a release chastising the city for the snub. "A man who stuffs his belly full of dead animals in the kitchen might just end up delivering dead wood in the bedroom." The release goes on to cite the Massachusetts Male Aging study, which correlated diets containing high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat with erectile dysfunction.

While some might argue with that study, no one's going to deny that PETA has come up with yet another clever publicity ploy, which would rank it right up there with our Ten Worst PETA Pranks. Cattlemen might not pay much attention to animal cruelty campaigns -- beef, after all, is their bread and butter -- but hit them in the bedroom, where it hurts, and a few might sit up and take notice.

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen