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Special Project
From the 4th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

How Never 21’s Instagram is Changing the Wool Industry

Entered in Instagram


PETA has created the Never 21 parody campaign and Instagram page in efforts to educate the public about the animal abuse inherent in the wool industry and to pressure retailer Forever 21 to end wool sales.

Through eyewitness exposés, PETA and our affiliates have exposed systemic cruelty to sheep in the wool industry 11 times, spanning dozens of farms on four continents. PETA’s recent exposé was built around footage and testimony from an eyewitness working on a sheep farm and shearing sheds in the world’s top wool exporter–Australia. Among the cruelty uncovered were crying lambs having their flesh and tails burned or cut off, sheep being beaten in the face, and those who were deemed no longer profitable having their necks slit while fully conscious.

PETA’s goal is to educate consumers about the cruelty of the wool industry and to urge brands to drop it from their offerings. As part of its mission to educate consumers about the industry’s practices, PETA investigates farms as well as organizes consumer protests, launches ads, and partners with brands and celebrities to shift consumer behavior. As a company targeted to a younger and more conscious demographic, and one who already uses innovative animal-friendly materials, Forever 21 has a unique opportunity to do right by sheep and stop selling its limited amount of wool.

Through branded Never 21 content, Instagram stories, targeted actions with our followers, celebrity campaigns, and imagery of both happy and abused sheep, our page is catching the attention of Forever 21.

Strategy and Execution

PETA’s Never 21 strategy is to use Instagram as a platform to raise awareness of the systemic cruelty involved in the wool industry so that users are empowered to help us urge the company to switch to animal-friendly alternatives and to choose fabrics in their day to day lives that are kind to sheep. Never 21 is targeting the younger demographic of people who shop at Forever 21, so timeliness, cultural moments, freshness, and eye-catching shareable content is a priority. 

The page’s content heavily appeals to all ranges of emotions with various images of terrified sheep being abused, happy sheep in their natural habitat, memes and parodies of Forever 21’s posts, and engaging Instagram stories asking followers to take action. All content is heavily branded with the Never 21 parody logo and using colors associated with Forever 21, and thus Never 21 as well.

This account also taps into the exploding Instagram stories feature by posting ways to take action, user generated content, Never 21 protests, and more.


Since its creation in mid-December 2018, Never 21’s account has grown to nearly 25,000 followers. This is in part to a massive viral hit – a compelling PETA Latino collaboration with actress Sofia Sisniega who was “beaten up” like a sheep and gives viewers a glimpse of what it’s like to be one of these animals on a wool farm through emotional visuals and narration. The video has nearly 320,000 likes and was seen by millions of people, bringing tens of thousands of new users to Never 21’s page for the first time.

Thanks to Never 21’s engaging content, Forever 21 is facing ongoing consumer pressure. The followers on Never 21 are extremely engaged. Day after day, these users are so excited about helping sheep that they are raising awareness for this important issue by heading to Forever 21’s Instagram account and demanding that the company stop selling wool. This tactic has been so effective that Forever 21 has blocked words like “wool” or the sheep emoji from showing up in the comments; anytime someone uses certain words about wool or sheep, their comment will not show publicly.

So far, Never 21 has noticed that when you search “wool” on, no items come up even though the company is still selling wool. This proves that Never 21’s campaign and its faithful followers are making a difference for sheep!


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