Youtube VideoPak N Save's Stickman is a cheeky wee chappy. And he recently peeved off a few militant vegetarians and upholders of political correctness with a recent Meat Week ad. But rather than bow down to the vocal minority, as often seems to be the case these days, DraftFCB and Foodstuffs had a bit of fun instead and decided to placate the flesh avoiders with a modified version.
The ad, which launched on Sunday, started off telling vegetarians to look away while Stickman gazes upon a cornucopia of glorious meats going for a ride on a conveyor belt and then says it's safe to look because a carrot is following, before telling them it's actually a sausage.
Not surprisingly, vegetarians and fun haters complained about it being offensive and in bad taste and rejoiced when Pak N Save's Facebook page said the ad was being reviewed. According to the Herald, animal rights group Peta even sent the supermarket a bunch of flowers in gratitude. Adding to the melee, the meat-eating masses frothed at the mouth when it appeared Foodstuffs had given in (we had a bit of a chuckle about this comment: "Rumour has it there's a Facebook page being started that is collecting all the names of the vegans and other PC twits who are crying about the ad. Then a bunch of meat-eaters are supposedly going round to beat them silly with dog rolls"). But the joy of running a low-budget animated campaign meant a new ad went to air last night that said 'Meat Week—Now with Vegetarian Sausages'.
The stickman campaign shows that Pak n Save, which will presumably be stoked with all the publicity, obviously has a sense a humour and DraftFCB's executive creative director James Mok hopes this slight change will mean everyone can have a laugh about it. But studies by experts* have shown that low iron counts tend to lead to very low senses of humour, so we'll see if that pans out.
We called Foodstuffs' group general manager marketing Steve Bayliss to see how the cheeky tweak has gone down but he was off to deliver a few meat packs (with vegetarian sausages, of course) to DraftFCB to thank them for their hard work. Group comms director Antoinette Shallue did get in touch, however, and says it's been pretty quiet today.
"Hopefully it's being taken in the way it's intended," she says.
UPDATE: Bayliss returned our call after the delivery of the meaty treats and hinted at the possibility of more controversy this year as more of the long-serving brand ambassador's true character is revealed.
"I'm sure carrot and sausage confusion won't be the end of it," he says.
For all you history buffs, here's a behind-the-scenes look at Stickman from the Fair Go Ad Awards.
*May not be real studies. Or experts.