Meat and Livestock Australia has successfully courted controversy again.
Their media strategy is fairly simple: make a borderline offensive (and usually quite funny) ad that’s going to get a lot of people pissed off, and generate a bunch of free press.
And I know that it worked because I’m writing about it right now, and they haven’t given us a cent!
For this year’s spring PR push, a table of deities and…jedis…are seated around the table enjoying a traditional Aussie barbie and throwing some banter around.
(Although, there is one notable exception to the list. Muhammed doesn’t make an appearance – a pretty wise decision, given depictions of the Prophet are considered deeply offensive to many in the Islamic faith.)
Where they didn’t tread so carefully though is with Hindu culture.
A clumsy ‘elephant in the room’ pun evidently pissed a lot of people off, as well as the major theme of the ad stating that lamb is “the meat we can all eat”.
(Ganesha, it turns out, is a vegetarian)
“It is painful to see Ganeshji being portrayed as a meat eater, wine drinker and in search for a new marketing strategy for himself,” Ram Bansal, president of the Indian Society of Western Australia said.
“Meat and Livestock Australia has shown total lack of respect and understanding of the Indian culture and values.”
The Jesus bits are funny, the Hindu bits are clearly offensive and just factually wrong, and the whole premise of the ad doesn’t really make much sense.
Check the video out and decide for yourself (international readers head over here).