A recent television ad by Red Robin, one of those trendy sit-down restaurants with un-daring menu fare (o.e.g: Appleby’s, TGI’s, Ruby Tuesday) has managed to draw fire from an uptight element of vedge-heads for the way it promotes its newly-unveiled Gardenburger.
In the ad, a Red Robin uniformed attendant touts its 24 types of burgers, and with a roll of her eyes, includes, “We even have a Gardenburger, in case your teenage daughter is going through a phase.”
As foam-tipped as that joke may seem, hyper-activist vegans and vegetarians grabbed their Garden Weasels and their social media-sphere devices in outrage-fed protest. To quote one organizational backlasher via the Yahoo article:
“Though I applaud any fast food chain that offers a veggie burger, and I hope that more do, the idea that not eating animals is reserved solely for teenage girls going through a phase is obviously meant to insult both vegans and girls,” Jasmin Singer, executive director of Our Hen House, a New York-based multimedia vegan activism organization, told Yahoo! Shine. “Why is Red Robin insulting the very customers it’s reaching out to?”
The organization PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals at the Expense of Every-Fucking-Body Else (okay, I admit that the stuff after “Animals” is my addition) felt a need to pile on with the following statement: “PETA is thrilled that Red Robin has veggie burgers, and we agree with the many comments that the one-liner in the commercial is a bit outdated.”
Hoping to restore some balance to the fern-filled vedge-head universe, Red Robin issues an apology. “If anyone was offended by the ad, we sincerely apologize,” spokesperson Kevin Caufield told Yahoo! Shine. “We value all our guests, including those who want vegan and vegetarian options,” and added that the commercial “was intended to increase awareness of these vegetarian options in an irreverent, lighthearted way.”
Unfortunately, not all those who are offended are so quick to surrender their victim mentality or their self-indulgent outrage. “My husband and I used to get your Gardenburger—but after your insulting ad, you have lost our business,” one woman replied on Facebook. “What on earth made your marketing people think this was a good idea to insult the 600 million vegetarians on our planet?”
Just guessing at an answer here, but . . . Perhaps they were thinking that the meatless diet community had enough of a sense of humor that they can take a joke like they’re part of “the gang”. Apparently, that assumption was in error. At least there’s also been a “lighten up, guys!” reaction from the remaining majority of vedge-heads who saw the commercial for what it was: Cheesy, harmless pluggery, with a side order of gentle-nudge-to-the-ribs.