{Rules of PR no.5} PETA + Michael Vick = PR Fail


For the past week, word has been circling in PR-land, AD-land and Animal-Rights-world about Michael Vick being in talks with PETA to become a spokesperson. Talk about PR Fail, major.

Convicted by the federal government in July 2007, Vick was charged with operating an unlawful, inter-state, six-year long dog fighting ring known as “Bad Newz Kennels.” Held at his 15-acre property in Surry County, Virginia, Vick was accused of not only financing the venture, but participating in dog fights and executions – which in case you were blithely unaware of, is cruelty to animals. (We’re not even going to touch the gambling activities part of the case, but you can read the entire federal case summary here thanks to ESPN). 

Hypocritical much?
Why, yes, I do believe PETA once said,

“Today, we sound a clarion call to all people: Stand up for what is right, and speak out against what is wrong. Dogfighting is unacceptable. Hurting animals for human pleasure or gain is despicable. Cruelty is just plain wrong.”

So, asking the question again, why was PETA even considering talks with Michael Vick? Here is a man whose prision sentence was prolonged because he gave The Feds contradictory statements about how the dogs were killed, his role in the murders, the number of dogs participating and other details that did not make any sense. In fact, initially he was sentenced to 23-months.

Yes, he needs some positive public relations coming his way and I’ll go out on a limb of personal belief to say he doesn’t even deserve it. 

But, if PETA wants to have positive attention coming their way (besides for Pam Anderson stripping naked at every one of their events in support of their cause), I strongly disagree with the notion of hiring a convicted felon and known-animal abuser as your spokesman. It does not take a genius to see, not only the irony, but the downright absurdity of that stroke.

Pam Anderson for PETA.

Since the original statement, PETA has come out and said, no to a deal with Michael Vick. However, the biggest problem and PR-fail of the entire situation is that:

 PETA was considering it.

And that consideration will have dire ramifications on PETA’s credibility in the future.

Imagine the image of an organization whose goal is the ethical and fair treatment of animals, hiring an animal-psycho-murderer as its spokesman?

Not good.


Little Pink Book’s Rule of PR #5:
Dear PETA,
What is good for the goose,
isn’t always good for the gander.

To be taken seriously inside and outside of your target audience,
do not contradict your own values system.


Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ and ‘SashaHalima PR.’ She holds a B.S. in Public Relations and an M.A. in International Administration.

Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved


  1. I’m in the minority here and think this is a good move for PETA and the Humane Society. This isn’t about whether or not Vick is rehabilitated. I think the real issue is the PR impact for these two organizations.

    While I assume there will be great backlash, PETA is known for their aggressive and at times extreme approach. What this “partnership” does for PETA is it shows PETA taking a proactive role and shows them in a positive role of trying to “change” Vick. If it doesn’t work, Vick is on the hook. The upside is huge, the downside is very little.

    Additionally, this shows PETA being active in their mission. They aren’t hiding. They are being proactive in their mission. Isn’t that what they are suppose to be doing? Spreading their word in an attempt to further their mission?

    Let’s take personal opinion out of this, let’s take our personal impression of Vick out and really look at the core of this partnership.