I have never heard of Gourmet Burger Kitchen before this morning, when a HUGE controversy came up. Guess what the controversy is:
Yup, yet another company that isn’t Arby’s putting up ads that are trying to tempt vegetarians into eating meat. And while such ads are disturbing, because why bother with vegetarians? Especially if you HAVE vegans and vegetarian menu options! Gourmet Burger Kitchen, of GBK for short, is a burger resturant situated mainly in the UK.
My issue is not just with the ads being lacking in tact, but also with the over-reaching reaction that those ads bestowed on people. People went into the subway, ripped down the ads, and put up their own, calling GBK murderers. This reaction was pretty well over the top, and certainly didn’t bring veganism in any better light that the Fat Acceptance Movement was in when they ripped down those “Are You Beach Body Ready” ads.
The thing is though, GBK didn’t mean to attack vegetarians, that will be odd claiming that they sell black bean burgers and Fafalel. In fact, GBK wrote on their Facebook page:
“We’ve been reading the reaction to our latest advertising campaign and needless to say, we’re quite taken aback. The last thing we ever intended to do was offend or alienate vegetarians. The same vegetarians that we’ve looked after and fed since our very first restaurant. Our intentions were light-hearted and not meant to cause any offence, but clearly we have, and for that we apologise.
So having read all your comments and messages, we’ve made the decision to take down some of the adverts. We’ll still serve beef. We’ll still serve veggie burgers. But hopefully we’ll not tread on anyone’s toes while doing it. Best, GBK.”
Their menu options kinda prove that they were joking. “Resistance is futile” is obviously not a serious jab at vegetarians.
But even if it WAS, the reaction is STILL over the top. Yes, it was a god awful PR move by GBK, and should not have been done. But the huge number of attacks, and the fake boycotts (how many of you REALLY visit GBK? How many of you knew they existed before yesterday? How many of you even live within 20 miles of one?), are just too much. They probably lost a few dozen to a few hundred of their huge customer base, and all that refusing to shop there is going to do with get yet another store to not sell vegetarian menu items.
If companies believe that offering vegetarian items is a political minefield, they are not likely to offer them at all. Because why would I want to tip-toe around my company’s PR just to offer food choices to a vast minority?
Then again, that is just my view on it. Then again, GBK does not have the best PR team in the world.