Friday, October 10, 2008
A typical fast food commercial ridiculing vegetarians.
Back in my days of hypocrisy and rationalization when I worked on several different major fast food accounts, advertising people periodically presented commercials to the client that ridiculed vegetarians. I'm not sure why. Maybe they thought that was a good way of getting on the good side of the client who, presumably, despised everyone who rejected their products, doubly so if they rejected them for moral reasons. A typical TV script would be about a meeting of the vegetarian society, whose members were usually dressed up like stock characters from a sixties love-in. They'd sit in a circle and the fast food spokesman would enter the room, carrying a basket overflowing with alfalfa sprouts and say something like, "Greetings, my folk singing, far out and famished vegetarian brothers and sisters." The vegetarians' eyes would light up and they'd make room for the spokesman in their circle. Little would they know, hidden under the forest of alfalfa sprouts was a load of burgers, enough for everyone. "Tune in, turn on, chow down," the spokesman would say, which really made no sense because very few people in the current fast food demographic would catch the Timothy Leary reference. The initially horrified vegetarians couldn't resist the smell. They'd become instant converts, ripping the wrappers off and chowing down like a bunch of drunken frat brothers. They'd want more. "The drive-thru lane is still open," a Joan Baez look-alike would say and they'd all pile into a VW van. One of them would rip the "Don't eat animals, love them" bumper sticker off the back while another replaced it with a styrofoam antenna ball from the fast food restaurant. "Cool," one of them would say, "It's not recyclable." Usually a spot like this would be good for a few guffaws and the client would move on to other spots, but every so often one of them would get produced.