I studied Italian in college and lived in La Casa Italiana for three years, so a number of my college friends make their way back to Italy in any given year and they always share photos on Facebook and send along humorous finds.
Knowing I write about dogs, one shared a funny advertisement that an Italian Animal Rights group is using to promote an abandonment awareness campaign featuring an Italian porn star, Alfredo Siffredi. Apparently Siffredi is known for rough sex and rear entry.
I was pretty sure the image was a fake because the message is crude, even by European standards. Since Animal Rights groups like PeTA are known for pushing boundaries and being provocative, especially with sexual advertising, I decided to see if the image was real. I googled the Italian and found out all about Siffredi and that he was actually retained by Animalisti Italiani Onlus for an anti-abandonment campaign but that their original message was a bit more tame.
Seeing as Google returns four times the number of results when looking up the spoof ad versus the real ad, I’d say that the internet has embraced the crude humor. Whether this will lead to anything better for stray Italian dogs, however, is doubtful. Animal Rights groups entertain their own egos with provocative ads as much as adolescent pranksters entertain themselves with mockery. Neither is good for much more than a laugh though; it’s hard to take a mission of compassion seriously when the message is so far removed from the cause. The reason the spoof is funny comes in part from how ridiculous the ad is in the first place.
Provocative campaigns might get attention, but they fail to engender respect. And I doubt such ads actually lead to changes in behavior.
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