By Published On: 15 March 2013423 words2.2 min read

This is part of our series, Ad Nauseam– a look at advertising through the ethical vegan lens.

GEICO-Maxwell

GEICO has been using anthropomorphized animal mascots for years – we are all familiar with the GEICO gecko. But some of their latest ads leave me questioning their tactics.

In this first commercial, a pair of antelope with night-vision goggles watch Carl the lion try to stalk his prey. They mock how bad he is at it. “We can see you, Carl! You’re better than this. Have you thought about going vegan, Carl?”

Not only does this ad make fun of veganism to sell car insurance, but it brings to mind the common argument that we are meant to eat meat, just like lions are. Let’s be clear: there is a huge difference between lions hunting for food in the Serengeti and humans genetically engineering, then raising, animals in captive conditions for the sole purpose of food. Huge difference. There’s also a big difference between the lion’s digestive system and ours, and I’m pretty sure a lion has never felt the urge to cook its food and season it to the point that it’s palatable. But, you know, since Carl can’t kill antelope with the privilege of wearing night-vision goggles, he may as well just hang up his throne and be vegan, which is apparently a sign of failure.

Then there’s Maxwell the pig, who has been in multiple ads, screaming “WHEE!” all the way home, zip lining, paying his insurance bill on an airplane.  Oh, and then there’s the bit where he’s on a date with a woman and the car breaks down. She’s OK with that because she’s hoping for steamy windows.

Excuse me?

But that’s not all. Earlier this year, Maxwell starred in “Piglandia,” spoofing Portlandia and dining at the restaurant from their “Is it Local?” bit. Today’s special: pickled garlic pork loin… the loin once having belonged to fellow pig Edward. Maxwell didn’t seem too upset by this, simply commenting that he didn’t see that on the online review, and then pointedly ordering the spaghetti and wheatballs.

Note that GEICO participated in PCRM’s worksite nutrition program, following a low-fat, vegan diet for 22 weeks. Obviously the ad team didn’t participate in this study. Then again, even if it did, would it have mattered? Once more the point is driven home: eating vegan and being vegan are not one in the same.

Sadly there’s one other point driven home by GEICO: everything is joke material and animals are not off limits. Should they be?

By Published On: 15 March 2013423 words2.2 min read

This is part of our series, Ad Nauseam– a look at advertising through the ethical vegan lens.

GEICO-Maxwell

GEICO has been using anthropomorphized animal mascots for years – we are all familiar with the GEICO gecko. But some of their latest ads leave me questioning their tactics.

In this first commercial, a pair of antelope with night-vision goggles watch Carl the lion try to stalk his prey. They mock how bad he is at it. “We can see you, Carl! You’re better than this. Have you thought about going vegan, Carl?”

Not only does this ad make fun of veganism to sell car insurance, but it brings to mind the common argument that we are meant to eat meat, just like lions are. Let’s be clear: there is a huge difference between lions hunting for food in the Serengeti and humans genetically engineering, then raising, animals in captive conditions for the sole purpose of food. Huge difference. There’s also a big difference between the lion’s digestive system and ours, and I’m pretty sure a lion has never felt the urge to cook its food and season it to the point that it’s palatable. But, you know, since Carl can’t kill antelope with the privilege of wearing night-vision goggles, he may as well just hang up his throne and be vegan, which is apparently a sign of failure.

Then there’s Maxwell the pig, who has been in multiple ads, screaming “WHEE!” all the way home, zip lining, paying his insurance bill on an airplane.  Oh, and then there’s the bit where he’s on a date with a woman and the car breaks down. She’s OK with that because she’s hoping for steamy windows.

Excuse me?

But that’s not all. Earlier this year, Maxwell starred in “Piglandia,” spoofing Portlandia and dining at the restaurant from their “Is it Local?” bit. Today’s special: pickled garlic pork loin… the loin once having belonged to fellow pig Edward. Maxwell didn’t seem too upset by this, simply commenting that he didn’t see that on the online review, and then pointedly ordering the spaghetti and wheatballs.

Note that GEICO participated in PCRM’s worksite nutrition program, following a low-fat, vegan diet for 22 weeks. Obviously the ad team didn’t participate in this study. Then again, even if it did, would it have mattered? Once more the point is driven home: eating vegan and being vegan are not one in the same.

Sadly there’s one other point driven home by GEICO: everything is joke material and animals are not off limits. Should they be?

Leave a Comment

What do you think? Tell me in the comments.
All comments subject to the terms here.