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VFC, a UK-based vegan fried chick*n brand has taken marketing to a new level. Instead of creating new campaigns with activism at their core, as they usually do, the company has curated the wording of some of its harshest critics. Using negative social media posts and troll responses to its posts, VFC has created a campaign of “humane troll slaying” posters around London.
Printed posters are currently scattered throughout the London Underground and on telephone box advertising boards. The stunt marks the latest in a series of vegan companies seeking to highlight their products using witty or subversive techniques.
On-brand for the founders
VFC was founded by Matthew Glover, also a co-founder of Veganuary, and chef/restauranteur Adam Lyons. Both have never shied away from their activist roots, seeking to bring knowledge, however uncomfortable and shocking, to consumers. Having visited a chicken farm undercover, filming the experience, the two have remained committed to delivering hard-hitting facts to meat-eaters.
Criticism on social media is nothing new. VFC refers to its trolls as “cluckwits” and turns their attempts to undermine the message of the vegan brand on their heads. The result is a wealth of free marketing fodder that makes for an amusing read for brand fans and an intriguing dialogue for everybody else.
Recent VFC wins
Unintelligible social commentary from cluckwits is unlikely to cause VFC too many headaches. The company has recently unveiled its products in the U.S., following partnerships with online retailers GTFO and Veji. The move overseas comes after a $10.2 million seed round closed in January of this year, specifically initiated to finance global expansion.
In suitably good-natured but cheeky spirit, VFC has told ‘The Colonel’ that they’ve got it from here. Reception of the fillets, bites and popcorn vegan fried chicken products has not yet been disclosed.
The increase of subversive vegan marketing
Never ones to miss out on an opportunity to flex their creative marketing skills, U.K. brand THIS has released a litany of campaigns that have poked fun at meat-eaters. Few have forgotten the “bacon helpline” during Veganuary 2021. Then came the pranking of meat aficionados with vegan products at a food convention last year. Recently, the vegan pork specialist released a bacon perfume, to coincide with valentines day. It then went on the offensive when the Ulster Farmers Union called for a ban on meta-related terms on plant-based product packaging. It ‘helpfully’ drew up a list of new complaints for the union, releasing them as spoof headlines. Highlights included guinea pigs being fined for not actually being pigs.
Also displaying posters in London telephone boxes, The Pack, a UK-based vegan dog food company, recently sought to leverage a different approach to marketing. Creating posters with split messages, the top half for humans and the bottom for dogs, the underlying message was an informative one, with pet owners being told that dogs can thrive without meat.
In May last year, Barcelona startup Heura scored a victory against the Spanish meat industry. The latter attempted to file a lawsuit against Hera for a billboard that highlighted the carbon footprint of meat production. It revealed that one burger created more emissions than a car. The bold billboard was met with amusement from consumers but not the meat industry, who went on to be denied the right to file legal action.
Lead photo by VFC.