A new ad promoting Australian lamb has caused a strong reaction from the Australian Indian and Hindu communities, for the representation of deity Ganesha encouraging the eating of lamb.
Released on Monday, Meat and Livestock Australia’s new spring ad brings the world’s religious figures together for a casual barbecue — serving lamb, of course.
Guest include Jesus, Moses, Zeus, Buddha and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, along with Hindu god Ganesha. Unfortunately for MLA, Ganesha is known as vegetarian, which contradicts the campaign’s key message: “Lamb, the meat we can all eat.”
After Habib, it’s Meat & Livestock Australia, showing Lord Ganesha drinking wine & eating lamb😠👎 Is ths a fashion to play wth Hindu Gods 👿 pic.twitter.com/UJg0GSKiD1
— Tanmay Shankar (@Shanktan) September 6, 2017
Hundreds of comments have appeared on the MLA’s Facebook page, many requesting the ad be removed.
Organisations ,including the Indian Society of Western Australia, have condemned the use of Ganesha for promoting meat sales. Influential organisation Hindu Council of Australia called the ad “crude and deplorable.”
However, MLA marketing manager Andrew Howie has stated that the intention of the ad was never to offend.
“Lamb is the meat that brings people together. Our ‘You Never Lamb Alone’ campaigns have promoted the value of unity and inclusivity. This latest campaign instalment is no different.
“The campaign features gods, prophets and deities from across a wide range of religions alongside atheism, in a clearly fantastic nature, with the intent of being as inclusive as possible. To achieve this we undertook extensive research and consultation.
“Our intent is never to offend, but rather acknowledge that lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures and capture how the world could look if people left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and minds.”
No stranger to a viral ad campaign, Australian Lamb clocked up 1.3 million views for its Australia Day ad in 2017, which also generated a pretty strong reaction from the public.