PETA versus KFC- PETA winning the battle…for now

24 06 2008

“Help make positive changes for chickens”- Shockingly this isn’t the title of KT Tunstall’s latest single but rather an extract from a letter sent by her (or more likely on behalf of her) to all outlets of the fast food chain KFC in her native Scotland. The singer is another name in a long list of celebrities who have endorsed the campaigns of animal rights organisation, PETA. The website Kentuck Fried Cruelty displays the names of such celebrities and includes dozens of celebrities from Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee to Sir Paul McCartney and The Flaming Lips.

PETA states that roughly 1 billion chickens are killed each year for KFC’s buckets. This month PETA finally made advances in their 5 year campaign against KFC in Canada. Priszm Income Fund, acting on behalf of the franchises of KFC in Canada, pledged to improve its animal welfare standards and the treatment of chickens.

Regardless of your beliefs in relation to animal security, from a PR point of view, looking back at the various KFC campaigns the organisation really should be praised for it’s efforts. Recently PETA have developed online games such as Super Chick Sisters (attracted over 500,000 visitors to the KentuckyFriedCruely website) and Bloody Burberry, to take their message to the younger generation. To strike a chord with gents everywhere they brought us the now famous “I’d rather go Naked than Wear Fur” campaign which featured actresses such as Eve Mendes and Pamela Anderson.

Eve Mendes naked

Other marketing tools employed by the organisation include ecards, branded merchandise such as t-shirts and lip gloss, online recipes, horrifying video’s depicting animal cruely narrated by a diverse range of celebrities, to mention just a few.

However it’s likely these PR skills will need to go into crisis management mode following recent reports that the organisation kills over 90% of animals in their care. I wonder if KFC are behind this? Perhaps Pamela Anderson could be called in to mediate…or Britney…or Paris Hilton!

Is commitment the new aphrodisiac?

24 06 2008

Gay, straight- everyone has got the commitment bug and all are hoisting up their white dresses (or suits as the case may be), and legging it full throttle to the altar. I was chatting to a friend last night and realised that, from a quick review of our circle of friends, three people under 25 years old have gotten engaged in the past two months. I am a firm believer in the fact that the only reason you should run to a church is if you’re being chased by a pack of angry villager complete with pitch forks and are seeking refuge! However it seems like I’m in the minority here.

The most recent statistics from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal that the number of marriages has been increasing steadily. In 1996 16,174 people tied the noose knot. This figure had risen to 21,841 in 2006. Of course these figures can be linked to an increase in the population over the same period but I wonder what other factors are having an effect here?

I doubt it’s coincidence that the marriage rate has increased since 1996. The year before, in 1995, there was a referendum on divorce in Ireland and divorce was finally introduced in the State in 1997. There seems to have been a shift in attitudes relating to marriage since- Older singletons are waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care, shouting from the rooftops that being single is fabulous and that marriage stifles the spirit. Meanwhile a growing number of young people- who you’d expect to be dating, shagging and having fun, damn the consequences and don’t mention the C word (commitment) – are actually looking to settle down earlier. Perhaps people see the “marry them and drop them” trend that’s taken hold in the world of celebrity and view marriage as being without consequence?

Wedding cartoon....happy ever after???

The number of divorced persons in Ireland increased from 35,100 to 59,500 between 2002 and 2006, an increase of 69.8 per cent, making it the fastest growing marital status category. The number of separated persons increased from 98,800 to 107,300 over the same period – up 8.6 per cent.

So for the youth of today marriage appears to no longer be a scary word and commitment no longer brings spotty youths out in a cold sweat… Having problems in your relationship? Sex life a bit drab? Want to spice things up? Can’t figure out how to unlock your girlfriend’s chastity belt? Mmm….get married…sure if it doesn’t work out we can just ‘pull a Barrymore’! And how will we plan our wedding? Pick up a copy of Ok! Magazine and take tips from Colleen McLoughlin and Wayne Rooney or grab People and take wise counsel from Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon…or not!

The Amy Winehouse Self Destruction Continues

23 06 2008

Does anyone else feel like there’s some new revelation or tale of horror from the Winehouse files on almost a daily basis? This week we heard that Amy had fainted while signing autographs for fans at her home and was rushed to hospital. Following days of tests it was revealed yesterday that Amy has contracted emphysema.

If ever you wanted something to deter you from drugs, check out this photo. Nicotine stained hands that would put even Pete Doherty to shame:

Amy Winehouse- scary pic- Amy Winehouse

Hopefully this awful illness will be a blessing in disguise for the troubled musician and ensure she kicks the crap and gets back to making good music.

It’s bad news for any Irish fans who rushed to buy Oxegen Festival tickets to see her perform. Winehouse cancelled her last Irish gig in November 2007 after allegedly been advised by a doctor to “to take complete rest and deal with her health issues” (clearly that advise was followed to the letter). I think it’s a case of ‘more fool you’ for those people who were banking on Amy actually showing up. There’s more chance of the Pope pole-vaulting through my window naked right now than there is of Amy Winehouse getting her act together in the near future.

Petty Bishops and Gay on the brain!

17 06 2008

On the same day the first legal gay marriages took place in California, the Times reports on the results of a study by Swedish scientists at the Karolinska Institute which has added further credence to the fact that you do not choose to be are born gay.

Born gay?

The scientists scanned the brains of 90 healthy gay and heterosexual adults, men and women, and compare the volume of the hemispheres. Their conclusion was that structurally, the brains of gay men were similar to those of heterosexual women, and gay women’s were like heterosexual men. The study analysed the amygdala which governs emotion, mood, anxiety and aggressiveness.

Scientists believe these brain differences were laid down early in foetal development and so…drumroll…. Dr Qazi Rahman, a lecturer in cognitive biology at Queen Mary, University of London: “As far as I’m concerned there is no argument any more – if you are gay, you are born gay,” he said.

This isn’t the first scientific study into the origins of homosexuality. In 1991, Simon LeVay identified differences in the hypothalamus of straight and gay men.

So with all the gay pride going aroung at the moment (we’re in the midst of the Pride Festival in Dublin at the moment) someone had to rain on the parade. The Church have come out to poo poo the community. A petty statement released following the Irish Bishops Conference (a stimulating affair no doubt) was a load of waffle. For example:

“Christian tradition holds that sexual differentiation is intrinsic to our understanding of the sacrament of marriage.”

“Marriage has a meaning that is not reducible to individuals’ intentions and society’s laws. Marriage is not perceived as just any kind of relationship, but as a quite specific kind of relationship, with certain core characteristics.”

“It is oriented towards the sharing of their lives and the support they will give each other, and also towards the creation of new human beings as the fruit of their love.”

“It is for the sake of these two objectives that the loving marital relationship between a woman and a man needs to be one that is faithful, exclusive and lasting.”

So if you wade through all that bull it all adds up to the Church making noise for noise’s sake to create whatever bit of disruption possible. Petty. They are basically stating that the purpose of marriage is to pop out sprogs! Sad.