Speaking to Kotaku today, PETA plays down yesterday's protests about Mario's use of the Tanooki suit: "Mario fans: Relax! PETA's game was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, a fun way to call attention to a serious issue, that raccoon dogs are skinned alive for their fur," said a rep.
The campaign that the animal rights protestors created yesterday (which we reported on) was a rather elaborate one: releasing a statement and even making a flash game based on the 2D scrolling structure of the Mario games, where you play a skinless tanuki, chasing the Italian plumber to get your fur back.
"We wish real-life tanukis could fly or swat enemies away with their tails and escape from those who profit from their skins. You can help them by never buying real fur."
Being an unequivocable set of social life-less gamers, we would sit here and have a rant about this (it really did quite piss us off at first). This kind of Press attention-whorism is the reason why we sometimes hate the wide world of marketing, from these kinds of big stunts to the smaller things such as taking advantage of a hashtag to sell an item.
But, if they hadn't had done this, would we actually be thinking about PETA, never mind writing about them? We're not here to try and engage in a discussion about animal rights or anything like that. But you can't help but sort of commend them for opening up a channel of discussion through the video game press: a press section (and audience) that would never even have PETA cross their mind.
Any publicity is good publicity and all that jazz.