One of the most recycled non-profit adverts?

Seven years ago, this Rude Food film made the rounds. Orginially it was called "Hot Dinner". Now, the Vegetarian Society is using it, again, as a viral to promote National Vegetarian Week in the UK. An April 1st press release from the group claims that "members of The Vegetarian Society are up in arms after discovering that the long established charity is secretly promoting pornographic material under the guise of National Vegetarian Week."

In it, a spokesperson for The Vegetarian Society was quoted as saying:

“ We are deeply sorry for causing offence to any of our members. Unfortunately the link was sent out to a few people by accident, we are investigating an internal leak as we had planned to use the film as a bit of fun for our staff in celebration of National Vegetarian Week. Now that the website is in the public domain we can only say that we hope that there are other vegetarians out there that actually enjoy this sort of thing.”

Leaked? Yeah years ago.

Read on for more...

The film has been used as a valentine film for the Vegetarian Society in 2001, and in 2003 for PETA in Germany, all of which are "viral" ads.

[Squeezing the fruit]

It was also attempted to be used by PETA in the US as an ad during the 2002 Super Bowl (although it never made it to air and is listed in PETA's rejected ads section.

[Rubbing the pea]

And the clincher? This excerpt from a speech during the World Vegetarian Congrees in 2002by Tina Fox, Chief Executive of The Vegetarian Society UK.

Early in 1998 we produced a rather risqué advert for youth magazines, after having it duly approved by the charity commission making the point that all vegetarians weren't wimpy and sentimental but full of energy and vitality, it depicted a young man with slashes in his shirt but looking rather pleased about it, with the strapline that veggie girls don't mind a little cruelty - again this is pictured in on our stand. The "steamy veg" cinema ad of June 98, sponsored by the Co-operative Bank, portraying the vegetarian diet as a healthy and sexy one and the humorous onions cinema ad shown with Babe 2 in December1999 are a far cry from the sort of campaigns put out even 5 years ago and I hope you may have an opportunity to view them during the congress.

The steamy veg cinema ad, called "Hot Dinner" and dubbed " Rude Food" by others was initially developed for the society by OglivyOne advertising agency and funded by the Co-operative Bank. We were uncertain at first if the Co-op would go for such a lively image but they loved it and so did all the cinema goers and the media. In a leaflet distributed to their customers the Co-op described the positive flavour of the advertisement and the point that changing to a more sustainable diet can be fun. Although it is only 40 seconds long it makes quite an impact and achieved its aim of making the public think about food in a different way. In our press work we linked the ad to evidence from the USA that indicated that a diet with no meat but rich in fruit and vegetables could be a the key to a healthy sex life as high meat and high cholesterol can cause blockages in arteries not only to the heart but also to the genitals. Surprisingly despite its very suggestive content it was one of the few things we have done that we didn't get complaints to the advertising standards authority!

I showed the video in 2000 to a group of prison officers who I was talking to about catering and it really broke the ice and shattered the image of vegetarians as stuffy do gooders. The video has also had some limited showings in the USA thanks to PETA and other groups.

[Hot pepper, or uh...]

And on The Reel I found it again. Rude Food was done by Harvey Lee, Mark Taylor and Graham Daldry through OgivlyOne Worldwide, London and produced by Jacky Cheyney of Production International, London.


In an article from The Independent, they write:

And, in keeping with the majority of pornographic imagery these days, the 30-second film is only available on the internet. The "gastroporn" film became an "in-joke" among members of the British Vegetarian Society after being screened in a selection of cinemas, prompting its posting on the internet to coincide with National Vegetarian Week which runs from 23 May until 29 May.

These days? How about seven years ago! ;-)

[Drippy asparagus]

Kerry Bennett of the National Vegetarian Society said the film had been around for some time until it was accidentally sent out to members of the public last month. "We showed it in a few cinemas a little while back but since then it has been something of a favourite among the staff in the office," Ms Bennett said. "Unfortunately it got sent out to a few people by mistake last month and some of them rang up to either feign mock embarrassment or simply say how good it was.

"Sometime" is an understatement. So is "a little while back". The fact that it has been used as a viral in the past really makes it a bit of a shame that they couldn't come up with some new creative. Heck, they could have even used the same idea but shot new visuals. Either way, calling it a "re-launch" would be more accurate.

You can view the Rude Food film here.

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