An advertisement for Australian lamb has inspired a number of complaints for taking a swing at Aussies who have forsaken animal byproducts—in this case, after moving to Brooklyn.
The ad released last weekend (Jan. 9) by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), the marketing and research group for the country’s meat and livestock industry, details a humorous operation to help Aussies abroad celebrate Australia Day the way it should be: back home and with plenty of lamb.
Australia Day is an annual national holiday held on Jan. 26, the anniversary of the arrival of British settlers in the country on 1788. It’s also a popular excuse to throw a barbecue—one that is likely to involve meat. Australians ate more than 90 kg, or almost 200 lbs, of meat per person in 2014, beating the US for meat-eating capital of the world.
In MLA’s video, Australia sends an elite SWAT team around the world on “Operation Boomerang,” to retrieve Aussies who would be stranded abroad on their nation’s holiday. The men break into conference rooms and bars all over the world, saving their compatriots from room-temperature beers and pesky board meetings to celebrate back home.
At one point, the SWAT team breaks down the door to an apartment in Brooklyn, New York and find a hunky, bearded guy in a cut-off tee cowering before them.
“Come on, mate,” the officer bends down to tell him. “In a few hours, you’ll be eating lamb on the beach.”
“But I’m a vegan now,” the Brooklyn newcomer says. Horror descends on the officer’s face before he lights the man’s coffee table (which seems to hold a bowl of nondescript vegetables) on fire with a flame-thrower.
Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau has already received 250 complaints about the ad, most of them from vegans who have called the ad discriminatory, according to the BBC. There have also been concerns raised that the ad shouldn’t have used the word “boomerang,” an indigenous term. MLA said in a statement to the BBC that while it was aware of the complaints the term had generated, it was not intended to cause offense and was “used to symbolize Australians returning home.” The group also said the ad was “tongue-in-cheek,” and that consumers are free to decide their dietary habits.