The national ASPCA announced it will embark on a campaign to expose the controversial practice of word of moth marketing.
"For corporations to exploit any wildlife for marketing purposes, let alone from the order lepidoptera, is baseless and wrong," said Calvin "Chuck" Dossant, a spokesperson from the nation's largest animal cruelty watchdog organization.
Marketers from Snickers to Nike have used moths as flying brand ambassadors in recent months for their ability to reach "unmarketable" consumers, like skateboarders and other outdoor enthusiasts. In a recent Snickers campaign, Brimstone moths bearing the candy's logo were secretly released during the NEMO Extreme Sports and Music Festival.
"The moths definitely connected with the crowd," said Janeene Cross, a festival organizer. "People were like, 'Check it out, Snickerflys.' I know they sold a lot of candy at the concession stands."
Calls for comment from Snickers and Impact BBDO, Snickers' agency, were not returned.
The ASPCA campaign follows on the heels of an effort by the Federal Trade Commission to eradicate word of mouth marketing, a different but related discipline.
Said Dossant: "The marketers of America need to realize that animals are not billboards, they are not 'marketing assets' to be exploited for profit."