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  • Gloria Marfo

Brand of the week: Comedy hour, The Vegan special

What comes to mind when you think of Veganism? Is it the environment? Animals? Or perhaps a healthy and better lifestyle? Universalism has always been at the epicentre of vegan conversation, so an educated guess could presume that laughter, comedy, light-heartedness or even fun might not have come to mind …. However many believe that the tides are slowly starting to turn…

Veganism for many years has often been the butt of many poor jokes, whether it is about how Vegans boast about their superior lifestyle, the exaggerated stereotype of the “Meat is Murder’ protester, or simply the comparison of Vegan diets to “Rabbit Food”. It’s fair to say that these jokes can be quite corny and have lettuce all down (Sorry couldn’t help myself).

A cultural change, which stemmed (last one I promise) from increased awareness of the benefits of healthy eating, along with the dangers of an unhealthy diet and effects of the environment has now made Veganism a societal norm and a way of life for many.

The industry is booming and there seems to be an abundance of vegan products and offerings, a wave that many manufacturers will not want to miss out on.

So how do brands stand out in such a competitive market? How can brands show their customers that their brand is unique and different to all the others? The answer is more simple than you might think.

Apparently, a little bit of humour can go a long way! Vegan brands have decided that the best way to engage customers is through slightly sassy, comical and eye-catching campaigns.

And these aren’t just targeted to vegans but to vegetarians and meat eaters as well. Many environmentally conscious or adventurous consumers with different dietary preferences are also buying into these products, from vegan shower gels, vegan leather and even vegan bacon.

This growing audience means advertisements need a more universal appeal, so that people from different backgrounds can connect to them, even if this is just a small chuckle as they walk past a bus station poster.

This booming market, and a hard stigma to overcome means brands need to be creative and switch up their approach to break through. Humour feels like a superhero flying in to save the day. It can play a key role in really challenging those stereotypes, breaking down the walls, and opening the door to many more people.

So what have brands been doing? Let’s take a look at some that have stood out to us…

Move over Marks & Spencers there’s a new food porn advert in town. Quorn have shaken up their traditional adverts for a new, creative and dare I say sexy advert. In the ‘So tasty why choose the alternative’ advertisement we can see a woman eating a delicious meat free sandwich whilst a deep low voice narrates over the top…

You might be wondering, who is this man talking? and what does he look like? Well once the camera pans stage left all is revealed… a muppet style pig enters the scene who’s then joined by a chicken and cow. The sexiness quickly evaporates but what’s left is a hilarious advert that gets its message across through shock humour. It shows the audience, in a funny way, that their brand is high quality while cheekily reminding them that they are saving animals in the process. It makes the brand look lighthearted and ‘one of us’ while moving consumers away from their usual meat deli slices and towards products which is, as we all know, a positive step for the environment.

In addition to this La vie Says “Vegan Bacon is a Better Faker Than Boris Johnson”. We’re yet to try it but it has certainly caught our attention.

"Through these commercials we are sharing our purpose, the one that drives us." says La Vie. These advertisements help people transition into a more plant-based diet, making the planet a better place for its habitants. Thanks to them we can do this with a smile on our face, enjoying their humorous commercials on our commutes. La Vie seems to understand how to attract a crowd, and we particularly admire this Parisian entrepreneur’s use of the power of humour, which makes the brand influential to many while allowing viewers to enjoy themselves. They’re living and breathing the company message, in brave new ways and it seems to be working… anyone else now craving a (vegan) bacon sandwich?

Finally, campaigns are using veganism to bring people together through a shared appreciation for fun, humour (and a dash of zaniness!). A limited-edition scratch-and-sniff card that smells like KFC's secret sauce is part of a line of "finger lickin'" Valentine's Day cards that KFC and Moonpig have created together to celebrate the launch of its vegan burger, alongside their "Will you be my vegan-tine?" card. Rather than presenting the vegan burger or the range as an “add-on” or something responsible, they are bridging the gap to build a more cohesive community over a shared appreciation of gravy, fried (plant-based) chicken, or even vegan burgers.

So, the voice of the vegan movement is increasingly loud and varied in the food industry, and many are becoming aware that adopting a plant-based diet is the most effective way to lessen your personal impact on the environment. By deploying humour, brands have started to open up the conversation to a broader audience outside of just vegans, and the “Serious” vegan stigma is certainly being broken down by this use of creativity and humour to appeal to a wide variety of consumers. But there is still work to be done. It’s now more important than ever for brands to maintain this momentum and innovation to allow the movement to continue growing.

Some OMTM thoughts:

● Could humour be a new way to connect with your audience?

● How can you do it in authentic ways that engage & grab attention?

● What can other brands learn from this trending form of connection?

If you’re curious to find out more, get in touch! We’d love to chat about your thoughts on this.

From human to human,

Sam & Gloria

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