Gaga ‘meats’ up in her VMA outfit

Lady Gaga made quite the splash at the Video Music Awards (VMAs) last Sunday night – not really to anyone’s surprise. The pop singer has made an international name for herself by being different and refusing to conform to social norms. That’s why her fans love her. But did she take it too far when she arrived at the VMAs wearing an outfit made entirely of butchered cow?

Lady Gaga’s PR practices aren’t known for keeping it low key. Did this getup really help her reputation from a public relations standpoint? Sure, she generated lots of media coverage for it. It was hardly all anyone who watched the VMAs could talk about. But was anyone all that shocked? I, for one, can’t say I really was. If anyone was going to wear a meat dress, it was going to be Gaga. Did it get her publicity? Sure. But will it help her sell albums? Well, she’s keeping her persona alive and in the spotlight so in that respect, yes, it probably will help her career. Does anyone think of Lady Gaga as any more socially deviant than they did before? Not likely. The dress was interesting, sure, but it seems obvious to me that the reason she did it was for the publicity. She suffered through the smell all night for a good reason. The photographs that circulated the Internet in an instant after she stepped foot on the red carpet created enough buzz to carry her through to the next awards show. And in public relations, that means it was a successful night for Gaga.

Lady Gaga defended her outfit choice on the Ellen DeGeneres show on Sunday, “Well, it’s certainly no disrespect to anyone that’s vegan or vegetarian….I, as you know, am the most judgment-free human being on Earth. However, it has many interpretations — but for me this evening it’s that if we don’t stand up for what we believe in, if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones.”

I find it hard to believe that with all the money Lady Gaga now has, she couldn’t find a better way to express that than by constructing a dress out of flank steak.

There were definitely critics. PETA immediately snapped to attention. A post on the blog “The PETA Files” said, “Meat is the decomposing flesh of a tormented animal who didn’t want to die, and after a few hours under the TV lights, it would smell like the rotting flesh it is and likely be crawling in maggots — not too attractive, really.”

The post went on to say, “The stunt is bringing lots of people to to download a copy of our vegetarian/vegan starter kit, so I guess we should be glad.”

The dress may have been a vegetarian’s worst nightmare, but all I thought about when I saw the dress was simply: Isn’t that dress heavy?

This entry was posted in INTELigent PR and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Gaga ‘meats’ up in her VMA outfit

  1. rmmoore5 says:

    Even though this post is from my group, I want to leave a comment because this post is so interesting and full of opinion…

    Honestly, what was Lady Gaga thinking? Yes, she is known for being absolutely crazy and unpredictable when it comes to her performances and outfits, so it didn’t surprise me that she would pull something like this. But even this is a little to much. From a PR standpoint, this had to of hurt her reputation to some extent. There are some people and organizations out there that were probably in outrage when they saw this butchered cow dress. Its almost sickening to think about. The dress obviously got her media coverage because that is all everyone talked about.

    Even though Lady Gaga explained herself on Ellen, I wonder what the statement her PR reps had ready for people and organizations like PETA who were offended. If you ask me, doing public relations for Lady Gaga requires a lot of patience and readiness to elucidate her crazy actions. What would you say as a statement regarding this dress if you worked for Lady Gaga?

  2. latipton says:

    Wow!! Yes, this one is a bit out there. It’s not surprising though. This may or may not help her sell albums, but come on PETA! You should know that at least for the most part, Gaga’s fans (even the vegan or vegetarian fans) are so loyal that they will not be mad about this.

    Lady Gaga said on the Ellen Degeneres show that one of the reasons for the meat dress is that “if we don’t stand up for what we believe in, if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we are going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones.”

    Of course, if this was in fact REAL, then it was nasty to be wearing it. But Gaga has never seemed to care about what is socially accepted, and that’s exactly why people love her. I’m sure she knows that this wasn’t exactly pleasing to animal rights’ activists, but she stands for a world free of judgment. I find it hard to judge somebody like that, vegan or not.

  3. shuscher says:

    I think that Lady Gaga is amazing at staying consistent. This meat dress (which was confirmed to be real meat) proves that she seems to have no end to her bizarre yet creative ideas. Granted, the idea of meat clothing makes stomachs turn and offends some people. However, as Lady Gaga continues to demonstrate, she’s not trying to be like every other cookie cutter pop singer worried about looking sexy. Her music, outfits and overall image are crafted to deliver different messages and work as commentaries on pop culture. As her quote on the dress stated above, this dress represented fighting for human rights. Specifically, Lady Gaga is currently campaigning to the U.S. Senate to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. She even posted a YouTube video about it here:

    From a public relations standpoint, I thought this was genius. Sure, it definitely raises eyebrows. Nevertheless, she stands by her beliefs and her image, and that’s why her fans support her like no other. To some, this meat dress may seem like a ploy to sell albums and make headlines. However, I think there’s more to Gaga than “meats” the eye.

  4. mbgiles says:

    Lady Gaga is always looking for some abstract way to express herself, and quite frankly, I find it disgusting that she would strut the stage in slaughtered meat. I do not understand what message she was trying to get across. On the other hand, as Gaga made perfectly clear at the VMAs, she was “born to be free” so I can’t help but (slightly) admire her audacity.

    I agree that from a PR standpoint, this was genius. As if Gaga doesn’t get enough publicity already, there’s no denying that she’s always going to be pushing the limits to get noticed. It makes me question whether being Gaga’s PR rep would be the easiest or the hardest job in the world. On one hand, you could be dealing with PR nightmares every time Gaga wants to make a risque decision. On the other, couldn’t you just get away by saying “It’s Lady Gaga, what did you expect?”

  5. mwilson9 says:

    As I sit and try to figure out what possible benefit would anyone gain from wearing meat — I think of one thing only — attention. And in the case of a top artist, it is definitely a publicity stunt. Anyone who is familiar with Lady Gaga can clearly see that she is always looking to ruffle a few feathers.

    From a PR perspective, Lady Gaga is making sure that she brands herself as someone who is out there and not afraid to push the limits and challenge the masses.

    While her actions may be displeasing to many, she knows exactly how to market herself. She always finds a way to keep her “brand” out there and she knows who her target audience is so she knows how to justify what she does in a way that not only grabs their attention, but keep their loyalty.

    Her response to wearing meat was, if we don’t fight for what we believe in soon we will have as much rights as the meat on our bones. That statement alone has not only justified what she did, but gave her fans a reason to want to continue to support her.

    I personally think it is disgusting. I like the message behind the outfit, but the dress was awful.

  6. bmalex says:

    While I agree with many people who think this is a disgusting stunt, from a PR perspective, I believe it really is a win-win, PR speaking, for most of the parties involved.

    First, Gaga herself of course. This has probably got her the most attention out of any other of the rediculous outfits she has worn in public and her videos over the years. Second, as JHICKAM said, PETA acknowledged that this stunt is also bringing many new people to While those visitors may not log off as newbie vegetarians, it’s still spreading PETA’s awareness message. And lastly, for the bloggers and journalists alike, this is great material here. What else do we love more than crazy celebrities?!

    Thanks for the post!

  7. rlbarber says:

    Without even getting into Lady Gaga’s strange antics, it’s pretty clear the woman knows how to get herself publicity. The public wants to know why this larger-than-life pop star is wearing a meat dress, the photo is strange and completely unique and she wore it to an awards show that is widely watched for its oddities and “candid” embarrassing celebrity moments.

    In terms of Lady Gaga and PETA’s response to the outfit, I don’t think her intent is to offend, more to shock and bring awareness to different causes. I’m a vegetarian and was in no way offended by Gaga’s dress. I wait to see what she wears next and tuned into the VMAs to see her many outfits. She’s incredibly talented and unquestionably an artist and the bottom line is to each their own. If she really wants to wear a meat dress, let her do it. She did it for the shock value but didn’t hurt anyone .. but the meat and it was already dead … in the process. She made the show interesting and I think she’s a PR genius!

  8. jkramey says:

    Shock value and Lady Gaga in my opinion are nearly synonymous. As always, you have to take into account the source of your information and/or message. In this case — I don’t think it dismisses the controversy surrounding her outfit — she is famous for continually pushing the envelope.

  9. lrstarr says:

    Lady Gaga has successfully reached a state of overwhelming fame and notoriety that negates any public relations ill doings. The essence of her public persona perpetuates her extreme choices and her reputation thrives on drama. Basically, I don’t think Lady Gaga cares that people “don’t understand” her low-brow theatrics. I’m sure her publicist isn’t discouraging her from this behavior and adheres to a “any publicity is good publicity” motto — especially when it refers to her image; her signature. She is certainly not looking to please anyone (other than her fans) and reflects that in every aspect of her persona — wardrobe, political outspokenness, you name it.

  10. shotchk1 says:

    The shock factor: Sometimes it works wonderfully and sometimes it blows up in your face. Either way, bad publicity is still publicity. Really, I think it is a matter of branding. If Oprah dressed in a meat suit, that would be bad for PR, but for Lady Gaga it is expected. Lady Gaga has branded herself as an eclectic, out-of-the box performer (who I believe idolizes Prince.) The meat dress was expected by her audience as well as her publicists — it was planned, after all.
    Does Lady Gaga have ties to PETA? I doubt it, and if she did, they are negative now. Although I thought the stunt was over-the-top and tasteless, I think it achieved its purpose — we are talking about it.

  11. kmcasey1 says:

    I completely agree with many of the above comments, Lady Gaga’s outfit was a PR success. Everyone was talking about it the next day, on TV, online, in class, on the radio. It seemed like everywhere I went I heard about Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress. I also thought it was smart move that she made it clear that she had no intention of offending anyone.

    Lady Gaga is unlike any other artist out there. She sets herself apart from the pack of female pop-stars with her music and avant-garde fashion. She also uses her fame to preach political messages and is supportive of the gay community. However, I do think that the dress did steal the attention from all the awards she earned. (She won eight!)

  12. kpang says:

    Lady Gaga’s meat getup during the VMAs obviously did the trick in generating media buzz and publicity for the pop star, but I don’t really think it was surprising coming from someone like her. Considering her outrageous antics throughout her career, her fans and people everywhere are always waiting for what she will come up with next. She is famous for doing and wearing ridiculous things, which I think is really quite impressive. If someone else were to do and wear the things she does, I don’t think they’d get away with it as easily as Gaga does.

    I don’t necessarily think that her explanation for the outfit during her interview with Ellen DeGeneres made much sense, but in the end, wearing a dress made out of meat doesn’t make much sense to start with. It also made me concerned for her health — she should probably get tested for salmonella. Also, I don’t understand why so many people were hugging her while she was wearing it.

Comments are closed.