Veganuary may be over, but that certainly doesn't mean you won't be hearing about veganism on a day-to-day basis. Despite the fact many of us couldn't go a single day without milk in our coffee, eggs for breakfast, and chicken for dinner, more and more people are turning away from animal products and opting for a plant-based lifestyle.
In fact, a recent article by Food Revolution revealed that the number of vegans in the US has increased by 600% in the last three years, with 6% of the population declaring themselves as vegans.
Now, I'm all for the vegan lifestyle. I'm not vegan myself, but I do believe that making the healthy and environmentally-friendly switch is a positive thing, and this is being reflected in our day-to-day lives. McDonald's have released their very first vegan Happy Meal, supermarkets are now stocking more and more vegan-friendly products, and restaurants are now offering more vegan choices than ever.
However, due to the "militant" actions some organizations and individuals take to try and get people to ditch meat, there is now a very palpable tension between meat-eaters and vegans. Put simply, people don't like being told what they should and shouldn't eat.
And with the topic of veganism being ever-present, car manufacturers Hyundai decided to feature a "joke" in their recent Super Bowl commercial that took aim at vegans.
Check out the commercial in the video below:
The commercial stars comedy actor Jason Bateman and sees him play an elevator operator who is dropping off a large group of people as they "go down". As they descend, each floor depicts a rather unpleasant life experience, such as visiting a dentist to have root canal treatment or having "the talk" with your father.
The elevator doors then open into a "vegan dinner party", where a rather eccentric couple are serving "beetloaf" - a vegan alternative to meatloaf made from beetroot. Bateman then quips, "Vegan dinner party, is that even a thing?" The joke here being that vegan dinner parties really aren't pleasant experiences.
Well, as you can probably expect, many people especially vegans, were offended by the joke, and tweeted their displeasure at Hyundai for making a joke at the expense of their lifestyle:
Even PETA couldn't contain their disapproval at the commercial, replying directly to Hyundai USA's tweet and suggesting their people go out and by a vegan Smartcar by Mercedes:
However, and you also probably expected, there were many people in favor of Hyundai's ad, believing it to be funny:
But it does seem that Hyundai have realized they've probably crossed the line here, as they were very quickly tweeting responses that came across as them backtracking on the comments featured within the advertisement:
They even went as far as to tweet the recipe for beetloaf, stating "It's actually good" (again, shooting themselves in the foot with the word "actually"):
Now, although I'm certainly not going to be sitting down any time soon to a plateful of beetloaf, I can certainly see the glaring error Hyundai have made here. Many vegans stand for compassion and environmentally friendly solutions, and the number of vegans is only going to increase.
Choosing to make a joke out of their lifestyle is pretty dumb from a marketing perspective, as it only serves to alienate a considerable chunk of the population. It may have only been a joke, btu this may end up costing them in the long run. Back to the drawing board for next year, guys!