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Morning Update: Burger brand apologises for mocking vegetarians; What’s App now free; AOL name to go?; Heineken defends ad

vege burger

Campaign: Gourmet Burger Kitchen sorry for ‘offensive ads’ mocking vegetarians

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, the restaurant chain, has apologised after sparking a deluge of complaints about its outdoor ad campaign which mocked vegetarians.

The ads, which appeared on the London Underground on 16 January, featured a picture of a hamburger with the caption: “Vegetarians, resistance is futile”;  and a picture of a GBK receipt alongside the caption: “You’ll always remember when you gave up being a vegetarian”.

Another ad showed a picture of a cow, which was captioned: “They eat grass so you don’t have to”.

WhatsApp

The Guardian: WhatsApp drops subscription fee to become fully free

WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service, is to drop its token $1-a-year subscription to go fully free for every user, the company’s chief executive has announced.

Speaking at the DLD conference in Bavaria, Jan Koum confirmed that the $0.99 annual fee will be scrapped, effective immediately. Previously, WhatsApp had been free for the first year, with the fee charged for every subsequent year. Long-term users of the iOS version were given free use for life, as a thanks for paying a fee to download the app when it had a one-off charge.

Digiday: AOL RIP?: Legendary brand might ditch its name

AOL’s name might be disconnected for good.

Less than a year after Verizon purchased the sprawling company, the brand is mulling a name change because people still associate its legacy image with email addresses and dial-up Internet, rather than a robust tech and media company it’s trying to morph into.

Allie Kline, AOL’s chief marketing officer, said in an interview with Business Insider that her company has an image problem, saying that people don’t know that it owns popular publications, like Huffington Post and TechCrunch, or operates ad-tech platforms. The America Online name has been in use since 1991.

The Drum: Heineken stands by ad despite claims it patronises women

Some of those complainants have made it clear what they think of the ad on social media, pointing out that it fails to acknowledge that females can drink more than men in the first place. Launched last week, the ‘Moderate Drinkers Wanted’ campaign targets females in the hope that simply by being a woman they will be able to curb men from downing too many Heinekens.

MumbrellaAsia: Tiger Beer launches global #SayItWithTiger campaign to get whole world involved with CNY

Tiger Beer has launched a global digital campaign that aims to get the world involved in the Chinese New Year celebrations this year.

microsite on Tigerbeer.com invites fans of the Singapore-born beer to watch how six celebrities say the Chinese New Year greeting, and then create their own version in a similar or parody style.

Independent: Shell and VW top list of NGOs ‘most hated’ brands in the UK

Shell and VW

Volkswagen has made a list of non-governmental organisations’ “most hated” brands in the UK for the first time, following a turbulent year for the company dealing with fallout from the emissions scandal.

VW came in at fourth place in the survey that named Shell as the most hated brand.

VW is now the seventh least popular brand in the world, according to the survey of more than 7,500 NGOs by Sigwatch, a consultancy.

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