Vegans are a passionate bunch. And, to be quite frank, I wouldn’t want to mess with an angry one and neither do the people behind Lee Lin Chin’s Australia Day lamb campaign, as they are quickly realising.
The video, which features popular SBS news host, Chin, in the commercial, is part of an elaborate plan to bring Australians home to eat lamb for Australia Day.
And the ad is pretty fantastic, funny and tongue-in-cheek, but there is one section of the commercial that has peeved off a couple of vegans.
At one point in the ad, a special agent comes marching into a New York apartment and says to the guy sitting on the floor that he’s going to be taken home to eat some lamb for Australia Day, but the guy lets the agent know that he’s now a vegan.
“Vegans,” Chin says, seemingly unimpressed, before the agent torches the guy’s table in the middle of his living room.
Video: We Love Our Lamb/YouTube
But if you look closely in the ad, the officer isn’t just violently ruining said vegan’s living room with a blowtorch. He’s targeting a bowl of kale.
Andrew Howie from Meat and Livestock Australia, who released the ad campaign, said the scene was meant to be a bit of fun.
“The torching is metaphorical towards the kale in the bowl (on the table),” he said.
“It’s in no way intended to be abusive or violent. What we are trying to do is increase lamb sales over the period.”
Clearly, it’s a bit of fun and nothing to make a big song and dance about (and I say that with love as a former vegan and vegetarian). Because if vegans can’t have a bit of a laugh at themselves and their life choices, then no one can, and that, my friends, is sad for all of us.
Dozens of complaints have reportedly been made by vegans against the commercial, but the Advertising Standards Bureau says the ad didn’t go against any of their rules. But the criticism continues on social media.
“It’s disconcerting to see an ad actively promoting violence against people peacefully protesting the use of animal products by simply not indulging in them personally,” Charlotte says. “It’s not that absurd a complaint. It’s an absurd and violent ad — but I suppose that’s not surprising given that their prime business is murder. Happy Australia Day y’all.” Eek.
Matt, who’s not a vegan, agrees: “Again. Not vegan. Still think the ad was unfairly making them the butt of the joke,” he says. “And actually the ASB said in a statement that of the 50 complaints most were about the level of violence rather than the suggestion vegans were unaustralian.”
Thankfully, loads of vegans do have a sense of humour as proven by the comments made on social media.
“I think this ad is brilliant. Obviously I wouldn’t eat lamb even if you paid me a million dollars. But c’mon, the ad’s hilarious! The part where they burn down the dude’s apartment cos he’s vegan got me laughin so hard I nearly spilled my soy latte,” said this champion vegan, Beniah.
Here’s another: “Not every vegan gets their knickers in a knot about something as silly as a lamb advert,” says Nathalie. “They constantly make jokes about meat eaters. I think it’s all just about how people take these sort of things on a personal level. Some people get offended some people don’t.”