Following the lead of Waitrose, KFC, Heinz and Greggs, Subway has jumped on the vegan bandwagon with its ‘Meatless Meatball Marinara’.
The sandwich chain and agency Above & Beyond filmed a series of three live tastings, during which vegetarians were invited to try out the new Meatless Meatball Marinara Sub. However, during the tastings, the host suddenly gets “confused” about whether or not they have in fact been given the meat version. Everyone starts to look horrified—but then they are quickly reassured by a Subway employee that they are in fact eating a meatless product.
The prank was meant to show that the plant-based sub is just as delicious as its counterpart. It may appeal to flexitarians, but it could alienate a group of people who take their decision to live meat-free very seriously.
Veganuary has gone past from just being a trendy hashtag on Insta posts to a genuine lifestyle. In fact, a British judge recently ruled that ethical veganism should get the same legal protections as religious beliefs, such as from workplace discrimination.
Al Gounder, Marketing Director at Subway, added, “Less than 1% of the UK identifies as vegan, so this campaign addresses the 42% who call themselves flexitarians, without excluding the 88% who identify as meat-eaters. We’ve done something fresh and slightly anarchic that will disrupt all the ‘me too’ conversation in Veganuary and put the Meatless Meatball Marinara firmly on the map.”
Subway‘s prank, even if only a joke, is not something that all the vegans would take lightly. Brands must not jump on the plant-based trend without making a serious commitment to serving people who live meat-free.