PETA finds unlikely partner in Beefeater

NEW YORK: Beefeater martinis and vegan fajitas?

NEW YORK: Beefeater martinis and vegan fajitas?

People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is kicking off a new campaign with a somewhat unlikely sponsor - Beefeater Gin.

"It's one of those quirky corporate tie-ins you would never expect to see, said PETA campaign director Dan Matthews. "But (Beefeater) was modern enough and hip enough to see the fun in it."

The new campaign, designed to encourage people to go vegetarian, is aimed at young men. It features Baywatch star Traci Bingham naked, with a butcher's map drawn on her body.

Beefeater had no prior relationship with PETA before underwriting last week's party to launch the campaign at hip New York night spot Suite 16, where the menu mixed Beefeater Gin and veggie foods for the high-profile crowd in attendance. PETA cold-called Beefeater's corporate communications department, which thought the idea was "hilarious, said Matthews.

"Frankly, the irony of a gin called Beefeater tying in with a vegetarian group was too good to pass up, said Beefeater VP of corporate communications Jack Shea. Shea added that PETA's demographics and image fit well with Beefeater, which has been trying to reposition itself from a "stodgy drink to a premium beverage for the nightclub crowd.

"Beefeater is for bold spirits, and the folks at PETA certainly are bold spirits, explained Shea. "Beefeater isn't afraid to occasionally take some risks. And we did consider that there could be some risk associating with a group that is sometimes controversial, but we decided to go forward."

The ads for the new campaign will appear in this month's double issue of Gear magazine, as well as the September edition of Wallpaper. The revealing photo will also appear on billboards, and is being translated into languages such as Hindi and French for use in international markets.

The ads are similar to PETA's annual anti-fur campaign aimed at women, in which high-profile models bear their bodies above the slogan, "I'd rather go naked than wear fur."

Matthews said PETA has been searching for a way to use the same "provocative approach to reach men. PETA and Beefeater are also currently searching for a male star to pose for similar ads set to appear in women's magazines.

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