PETA receives a lot of criticism for their nude or nearly nude campaigns. They explain that they do nude campaigns because they are effective. Here's their rationale:
Our mission is to get the animal rights message to as many people as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy task. Unlike our opposition, which is mostly composed of wealthy industries and corporations, PETA must rely on getting free "advertising" through media coverage. This can be especially difficult with our fur campaign, since newspapers are often reluctant to cover our activities for fear of losing furriers' advertising dollars. But, not surprisingly, colorful and "controversial" demonstrations and campaigns like activists stripping to "go naked instead of wearing fur" consistently grab headlines.
The "Naked" Campaign began several years ago when demonstrators - both male and female - marched behind a huge banner proclaiming that they would "rather go naked than wear fur." More "naked" demonstrations were held all over the world, the idea caught on, and we started receiving offers from celebrities, including Christy Turlington, Marcus Schenkenberg, Kim Basinger, Cindy Crawford, designer Todd Oldham, and Pamela Anderson to participate. Interestingly, we began receiving complaints about this campaign only after professional models and actors joined it, which we conclude to mean, among other things, that celebrity participation helps us reach more people.
The campaign has been hugely successful. It has been featured in nearly every major newspaper, including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post. And major magazines and television shows such as Us, People, and Entertainment Tonight have been inspired by the campaign to do stories about the anti-fur movement.
History does not look back unkindly on Lady Godiva. It is our hope that people will come to see that our modern-day "Godivas" have motives that are just as honorable.
I've created a website that takes a closer look at these nude campaigns: http://nakedpeta.blogspot.com/