Veganism gets insulted by Red Robin commercial

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Vegetarians are just as much a part of the consumer culture as carnivores. Red Robin, a restaurant chain that proudly serves customers a wide variety of carnivorous delights, such as 24-different flame grilled burgers including the Bleu-Ribbon Burger and the Royal Red Robin Burger, has been an American favorite since 1969. In the past few years Red Robin has been named by Zagat for #1 Best Burger in the Full Service Category in 2012 and has continually won the award since 2008.

Last week, Red Robin released a television commercial that offended herbivores by promoting their wide variety of Flame-Grilled Burgers, but promptly implied a snarky eye roll and saying, “We even have a Gardenburger—just in case your teenage daughter is going through a phase.” 

Lots of companies have tried to push the “envelope” by providing edgy commercials to help promote sales and relate to the target demographic to which they are marketing.

Red Robin wants to promote the mass consumption of protein-filled filled burgers for their customers; and yet to stay marketable to a changing attitude of people who have switched from eating meat to vegetable products.

Red Robin’s social media site on Facebook has also seen the negative backlash from its loyal patrons. Some fans posted that they “will never eat there again” due to the commercial.

The senseless attack against Red Robin’s vegetarian customers comes as a bit of a shock when they have announced they are promoting a non-meat option for individuals who choose not to eat meat. Even though the restaurant has had these vegetarian options on their menu for some time, the chain sought to promote the dishes to help boost sales.

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that non-meat consumers were less likely to suffer heart disease, diabetes and kidney failure that’s associated with diabetic conditions. Approximately 5-13 percent of national U.S population claims to be a ‘vegan’ or consumes mostly vegetables with no meat or dairy. That relates to 15 million citizens that could be potential Red Robin customers –which not many found to be as humorous as the producers of the advertisement.

Red Robin’s target was not to create a whirlwind of internet frenzy, but to provide a humorous commercial to widen the gap of its consumer base. This suggests the company recognizes the widening gap of lifestyle trends among customers.

In today’s current mass-media environment and instantaneous information, documentaries are circulating rapidly among those who are questioning the ethical integrity of protein consumption and the treatment of animals. Companies like Netflix and Hulu offer eager viewers a variety of stimulating documentaries that can make one question the treatment of animals and encourage viewers to become more health conscious for an hour or so. A few popular choices are: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Super Size Me, Forks over Knives and Vegucated.

Many celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon and switched to veganism more publicly. Some popular entertainers who have publicly announced their vegan lifestyles are: front-man and Rock and Roll hall of fame member of Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, actor Steve Martin, and hip-hop legend Vanilla Ice.

These high profile entertainers have had a significant influence on swaying potential consumers to side with the vegan lifestyle and to question the nutritional aspect of consuming meats.

Red Robin probably didn’t mean to offend millions of would-be customers, but in today’s digital world of instant information, companies need to be extra cautious on the perceived message that they deliver to the public. While the commercial has its humorous attributes, the negative public relations reaction could end up costing the restaurant chain monetarily.  

Let’s hear it from you, did Red Robin cross the line in its advertisement promoting its new vegetable burger? Or is this just a classic case of vegetarians not being able to take a joke?

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Mechanics burg Illinois  |  June, 26, 2013 at 09:32 AM

Can't wait to eat at a RedRobin!! All these minor groups who want to push there agenda on all of the rest of us do not seem to like it when we push back!!! Keep it up Red Robin live it

Colo  |  June, 26, 2013 at 09:47 AM

Good grief vegans, get a grip!

Bea Elliott    
Florida  |  June, 26, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Seems like a great idea to include a non-animal-sourced burger option. However it was presented in a begrudging, demeaning, minimizing manner. No one likes to be placated to.

Wyoming  |  June, 26, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Wow, typical liberal thin skinned, angry, humorless reaction. I thought the commercial was funny, and well done, and would have thought that even if I was a vegetarian. That is the reactions we've come to expect from the agenda driven type of people. Actually, the ad in many ways is correct. I've known three of these that I can think of that have had teenage daughters that were temporarily vegetarian, or vegan, due to peer pressure, or sometimes just the recent fad. Throw in all of the other liberal "sacred cows" such as diversity, green energy, global warming, political correctness, etc. and you have a nice summation of what drives many of these vegan. Like Karenh says, "get a grip !!"

montana  |  June, 26, 2013 at 10:32 AM

I thought it was a cute commercial. anyone offended by it really needs to learn to lighten up a little.

Indiana  |  June, 26, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Now Gary, don't assume all liberals believe the same on all those issues. I am a proud liberal who raises beef cattle, eats lots of meat, supports green energy, hates the concept of "diversity" and political correctness, believes that we are degrading our environment (global climate change). I'm just saying that we need to keep allies in this fight and to lump all these issues together doesn't do us any good!

Tom Neff    
SW MO  |  June, 27, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Now Dave - sounds like you could be that 1 in a million, but you no the saying, if the shoe fits. Gary has it right. The commercial is not a slam on vegans but the knee jerk reaction to it comes from the left. They typically know what is best for the rest of us (so they think).

Bea Elliott    
Florida  |  June, 27, 2013 at 11:02 AM

You're right. I should see this in a positive light: First they ignore. Then they make ridicule. Then they accept. We're on our way indeed! ;)

Wyoming  |  June, 27, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Dave, you are probably right that it is not fair to lump a lot of "liberal issues" together. My point is that this poor country is so divided on so many issues, that we no longer can "agree to disagree". A veggie burger for Red Robin makes sense, but for crying out loud--It is a burger restaurant, which usually implies meat. As far as demeaning and minimizing, go look at a snobby arrogant PETA ad. They demean any person who eats meat, and feel they are superior because of it. It is this type of knee jerk reaction for liberals that I am talking out. I have no issue for vegetarians, but also feel that they shouldn't have an issue with me. I also like salad with my steak. Keep up the good fight!

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