Vegetarians and vegans boycott Gourmet Burger Kitchen over ‘antagonising’ ad campaign

The campaign featured taglines such as ‘Vegetarians, resistance is futile’

Kate Ng
Monday 18 January 2016 17:38 GMT
One of Gourmet Burger Kitchen's adverts on the Tube
One of Gourmet Burger Kitchen's adverts on the Tube

A burger chain has said it will remove some adverts after being accused of "mocking" vegetarians in its latest advertising campaign.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has come under fire for a series of advertisements which vegans and vegetarians have branded "disgraceful".

The adverts, seen mostly at London Underground stations and trains, include taglines such as “Vegetarians, resistance is futile”, and “You’ll always remember when you gave up being a vegetarian”.

One of the adverts has the picture of a cow, with the tagline: “They eat grass so you don’t have to”.

People have taken to social media to condemn GBK’s ads, coining the hashtag #gourmetmurderkitchen to highlight what has been perceived to be a flippant attitude towards the consumption of meat.

Complaints have also been made to the Advertising Standards Authority.

GBK responded to the flood of complaints on Monday, confirming they will be taking down ”some” of the adverts.

In a statement posted on their Facebook page, GBK said: “We’ve been reading the reaction to our latest advertising campaign and needless to say, we’re quite taken aback.

“Our intentions were light-hearted and not meant to cause any offence, but clearly we have, and for that we apologise.

“Having read all your comments and messages, we’ve made the decision to take down some of the adverts.”

We've been reading the reaction to our latest advertising campaign and needless to say, we're quite taken aback. The...

Posted by Gourmet Burger Kitchen on Monday, January 18, 2016

Some, however, have slated their apology for being “patronising”.

Cathy Peters said on Facebook: “What a non-apology! … This is the same patronising tone, and the same lack of understanding, that your mindless, childish, bullying advertising campaign employed in the first place.”

Another said: “If you were a meat-only restaurant I would understand jumping on the veggie hating bandwagon to appeal to your meat-loving customers, but seeing as you provide veggie options this ad campaign was very silly and puzzling to me.”

Some people pointed out GBK’s campaign has been good for promoting Veganuary, a global campaign encouraging people to go vegan for the month of January.

Other restaurants have capitalised on Veganuary by offering more vegetarian and vegan options, along with discounts.

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