Everyone’s invited to the table: MLA stands by Spring Lamb ad as controversy grows

Meat and Livestock Australia has stood by its contentious Spring Lamb campaign as the controversy around the ad featuring religious figures has grown.

The ad, created by The Monkeys, features gods, goddesses, religious figures and aliens all sharing lamb in a non-religious woman’s backyard.

The ad received an instantaneous reaction for putting Lamb on Hindu deity Ganesha’s plate, despite believers seeing him as a vegetarian.

Acknowledging this, a spokesperson from MLA said in a statement to Mumbrella that the Spring Lamb campaign was intended to be all inclusive by inviting everyone to the table.

“To achieve this we undertook extensive research and consultation. To this end, those religions that don’t typically eat red meat are not shown consuming Lamb, but they are still invited to the table.”

The ad yesterday saw The High Commission of India in Australia make a “demarche to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Communication and Arts and Department of Agriculture bringing to their notice an offensive advertisement by Meat and Livestock Australia that hurt the religious sentiments of the Indian community”.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, urged Australian authorities to fine MLA for projecting a disrespectful belief of Hindus and other religious communities.

Further to his point, Zed also asked MLA’s board chair, Dr. Michele Allan and managing director, Richard Norton, to resign for “upsetting consumers instead of charming them”.

Despite Zed’s concerns MLA agreed the campaign includes gods, prophets and deities from a varying range of religions, however, its “intent was never to offend” with brand making an effort to include everyone.

“By acknowledging that Lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures, captures how such a gathering might look if one left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and minds.

“MLA advertisements have a history of being irreverent and jovial but always with the intent of adhering to the Advertising Standards Code.”

Meat and Livestock Australia said it was aware of the number of concerns raised by community groups and as a way of rectifying the situation is in the process “of meeting with and responding to these to better understand their concerns”.

The company also wanted to reiterate the positive intentions behind the ad.

“For a number of years, our “You Never Lamb Alone” campaigns have promoted the value of unity and inclusivity. This latest campaign instalment is no different,” the spokesperson said.


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