Australia’s Meat & Livestock (M&L) loves a good laugh when it comes to its ads promoting Australian meat and it isn’t afraid of pushing the ‘political correct’ boundary. However, this time they might have gone too far for some.
Its edgy advertising campaigns for lamb have offended vegans, Gays, and Indigenous groups in the past. Now it’s religious sensibilities.
In its newest spring lamb ad, Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard joins various gods, goddesses and prophets including Jesus, Aphrodite, Zeus, Buddha, Ganesh, and Moses at a long dining table to enjoy a spring barbecue of lamb. The prophet Muhammad calls up to excuse himself from the occasion because he must pick up a child from daycare. Zeus asks where God is and Jesus replies he is everywhere – a comment that draws nervous looks.
Created by the Monkeys, the television commercial plays on the idea that anyone can enjoy lamb no matter their background, religious beliefs, or dietary requirements.
The chief creative officer at the Monkeys, Scott Nowell, said: “It’s a reality of modern Australia that people of all faiths and backgrounds can get along around a table; coming together to celebrate what unites us as a nation.”
Primarily it’s Hindu organizations who have been the most upset with its depiction of Ganesh. Complaints have come from around the world.
The 2016 Australia Day ad, starring SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin launching an Operation Boomerang mission to rescue Australians stranded overseas, was one of the most complained about ads of all time – for offending vegans.
In it, Operation Boomerang agents break into an Australian man’s apartment in New York and use a flamethrower on his vegan meal of kale. People complained about the violence because the vegan was seen cowering in the corner. However, it was cleared by the Advertising Standards Bureau despite attracting more than 600 complaints.
The group marketing manager at Meat & Livestock Australia, Andrew Howie, said at the time that the torching was “metaphorical towards the kale” and is “in no way intended to be abusive or violent”, reports The Guardian.
Of this 2017 campaign Howie says Meat & Livestock Australia is again trying to “push the creative boundaries”.
“In this latest campaign we are showing no matter your beliefs, background or persuasion, the one thing we can all come together and unite over is lamb,” Howie said.