PETA’s “Arm Barn” Wins The Creative World Series…

There are many times when activists around PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals) go too far…splashing people wearing fur coats with animal blood and the like. However, one thing that the organization is great at is finding its way into a narrative to drive conversations that they would not normally be involved in.

Case in point was this week as The World Series began. The organization put out a release and even changed their social media handles to ask Major League Baseball to change the name of “The Bullpen” to “The Arm Barn.” The Bullpen for those who don’t follow baseball is the area where relief pitchers warm up, and the debate for how and what the term actually means…from where livestock are kept to the more accepted understanding tying it to an early 20th Century adaptation of an advertisement for Bull Durham Cigarettes…has always been in question.

Regardless, PETA saw an opportunity to insert themselves into a natural national conversation around baseball and use that insertion to bring attention to the slaughter and mistreatment of animals, all with a deft twist of a phrase. The result? Well on a rainy Saturday morning a quick search about “Arm Barn” brought up over 19 MILLION references within the past two days, including a deep story by the New York Post which people apparently took very seriously and tied the PETA request to cancel culture.

Now, as Barrett Sports Media pointed out in their compilation, it’s very doubtful that PETA is actually looking for MLB to change a term that probably has little to do with abuse of animals. As pointed out in the story there is probably much more done around the use of animal hides to make baseballs that could be addressed than changing a relief pitchers in game domain. That call to action on its own would have been met with much more disdain, and probably less coverage, than what PETA actually did, which was to light a little social media match and see what smoke would arise.

And did they create quite a little dustup.

Now these type of stunts happen from time to time. Porn sites are great at calling out celebrities when inappropriate photos pop up, we saw a pretty poor misuse of a “mental health app” call to action when Simone Biles had her issues during the Olympics, gambling sites for years have created fictitious “challenges” to athletes getting caught doing something, and most come and go for what they are…attempts at free publicity taking advantage of a moment in time. They all have to be unique and timed well and appropriately to work.

However this one by PETA…so creative, so fun…and so engaged by people who wanted to shout about other issues in society more than listen and watch what the request actually is all about…draws extra merit than most.

PETA found a very creative way to insert themselves adeptly, state a POV that was provocative, get it to a few key places, use social to drive the point, and then watched it go. Safe, fun, inexpensive and pretty effective in raising awareness when there would not have been.

 Home run in every aspect…timing, messaging and creativity.   


PETA’s “Arm Barn” Wins The Creative World Series…