An Australian marketing campaign for lamb which was meant to promote inclusivity has angered the worldwide Hindu community, which is calling for the “ignorant and insensitive” ad to be banned.
“Meat and Livestock Australia has shown total lack of respect and understanding of the Indian culture and values”.
The advert is supposedly promoting lamb as the food of all religions, or the “meat we can all eat”, as it says in the clip. In a statement, they said that the lamb ad campaign promoted “unity and inclusivity”.
President of the Council of Indian Australians Mohit Kumar said the timing of the campaign’s launch particularly hurtful the community.
When asked if MLA had issued an apology to Hindus or was considering banning the advertisement, MLA group marketing manager Andrew Howie said: “Lamb is the meat that brings people together”.
Mr Howie also pointed out Ganesh was sitting across the table from Buddha who was another vegetarian.
Howie said the marketing team undertook extensive consultation with religious experts before making the ad.
“MLA should be mature enough to understand that “love united us and brought us together and not lamb meat”, he said, and the inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees”.
The community is upset because the ad portrayed Ganesha eating meat and drinking wine.
To help communicate lamb as the most inclusive of meats, this activity will be followed by product focused messaging across small format transit out of home and a locational-based mobile campaign.
“This is very low and disheartening that you would hurt the religious sentiments of others just to promote your business”.
But there were some people who defended the ad, saying they did not find it offensive. In recent years vegans and Indigenous groups have complained of being mocked and degraded by the campaign to sell more lamb. “Nice work MLA”, Kati Jenkins wrote.
“The backlash is somewhat unexpected”.
Scott Nowell, chief creative officer at The Monkeys, said: “This is modern Australia – people of all backgrounds, faiths and dietary requirements can get around a lamb meal and get along”.