Although we are all aware of how leather items are made, plenty of us have fallen prey to such (usually luxurious) accessories. The moment we saw a leather-made bag, jacket, or a nice wallet that we loved from the first sight, we instantly forgot about the process behind it and added them to our cart, so we could look chic in front of our friends. Unfortunately, this chic feature comes with a price. A huge one… And we’re not talking about money.

If regular leather shops greet you with exorbitant prices, “The Leather Work,” a pop-up store in Bangkok’s CentralWorld mall awaited its customers with a gruesome ‘currency.’ Owned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia in Thailand and created by Ogilvy Bangkok, the store hid an unlikely surprise within its products. An unusual feature that connected the beauty of luxury to animal cruelty involved in manufacturing such garments.

During this week’s #ThrowBrandThursday, we invite you to see what really happens “Behind the Leather” and to learn about what animals need to endure so that consumers can dress themselves with expensive bags, belts, or gloves made from exotic skins.

As some of you might know, Thailand houses the world’s largest crocodile farming industry. The ancient reptiles are raised for their skins, which are, sadly, ripped from the animals while they are still alive. But it’s not only crocodiles that have to face this human desire. Snakes and lizards also suffer. Their heads are often ripped from their bodies, they are mutilated, slaughtered, and also skinned alive. Not a pleasant image to go with a pretty bag, is it?

If your imagination is not that strong, don’t worry, because the Bangkok-based agency took care of it all. To catch a glimpse of the real-life scenario, the artists created mechanical look-alikes of beating hearts, intestines, and other animal body parts and cleverly hid these unappealing innards inside the bags, jackets, shoes, and belts. Then, the creatives exhibited the luxurious handmade products in the shop and waited for the customers’ reactions.

“Leatherworks allows people to experience and see with their own eyes that every leather product caused a sensitive animal to endure a miserable life and suffer a terrifying death. By surprising shoppers with the cruelty behind the exotic-skins industry, we can wake them up and spark change that will save animals’ lives,” said Puripong Limwanatipong, Associate Creative Director at Ogilvy and Mather Advertising Thailand.

“Every year, hundreds of thousands of reptiles are crudely bludgeoned and skinned alive, all for the sake of so-called ‘luxury’ shoes, belts and bags,” says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA Asia’s gruesome pop-up shop reminds shoppers that the only way to keep blood and guts out of our closets is to choose vegan clothing, shoes, and accessories,” adds Bekhechi.

The campaign received tremendous success: it scooped two Gold Lions for design as well as a Bronze Lion for the “Promo & Activation” category at the Cannes Lions Awards. It also collected a Wood Pencil at the D&AD Festival. But will it ever stop people from buying leather fashion items and direct them towards ethical or vegan clothing? How would you feel shopping for such a bag? Let us know in the comments!


Client: PETA

Agency: Ogilvy Bangkok

Images: Puripong Limwanatipong