Archive for August, 2017

Here in London, Ontario, we have a budding new business that has been exerting a ton of effort in gaining a foothold in the very competitive “vegan fast food” marketplace. I wish nothing but success for this business because competition is the driver of innovation. Plus, vegans need something to eat when they don’t want to walk to their garden for a carrot at 2am.

While Globally Local literally has a near-monopoly on the demand for a vegan Big Mac, the entire marketing campaign that they have launched is nothing more than profiting off of every stereotype that us corpse eaters label them with. Furthermore, it’s actually worse because they’re taking this feeling of persecution, making with the #socialmedias and monetizing it.

Here are the two examples that have made the news lately. Now, this is a combination of news, opinion, and some conjecture. Oh, and a bit of sarcasm.

The date: June 23, 2017. The time: Some time between first salad and second salad.

After gaining some good, solid grassroots support for their business venture, Globally Local floods their social media with a tragic event that has beset their sacred garden. Some boorish ignoramus vandalized their brand new takeout window with “I ❤ meat”. Here is a picture of it, helpfully liberated from their Facebook page:

It’s not the most clever, and it’s not vulgar. It’s actually pretty civil towards both the lifelong leaf-eating vegans as well as those whose dietary requirements are dictated by their favourite celebrity du jour.

When this hit the local news though, something didn’t feel right. First of all, having lived in east London for most of my 14 years here, I am able to speak with some authority on graffiti and vandalism. Second, this stinks to high hell so bad that anyone in their ivory tower is going to catch a whiff. To pick up what I am putting down, all I need to do is ask: When was the last time you saw graffiti that neat?

Seemingly ignoring the suspicious nature of the graffiti, herds of rabbits, goats, and other herbivores flock to the feeding trough of GL’s Facebook page to bray about the oppression that they are feeling on behalf of a commercial enterprise who now has a problem with a vandal that has a knack for typography.

Whatever… I understand as much as anybody how hard it is to break out of the surgically implanted penmanship exercises we endured as kids. We’ll even ignore the fact that the “a” is the style of penmanship that exactly nobody has ever done in their life while spraying some sick tags on a building.

Stardate: July 21, 2017. The time: Quarter to lentil.

Look at how Globally Local has turned lemons into lemonade!

How adorable! They turned “I ❤ meat” into “No meat” and they used the heart as the O! Look at all of the lemonade that they made from those mean lemons! Look how they took a perceived attack on their vegan culture and turned it around into a way to market their product more effectively!

Look how amazingly the spacing of the original vandalism allowed them to do this! And look how the colour of spray paint of the original graffiti is such a close match to the colours they use in their branding! Wait a minute…

Date: First harvest plus a fortnight. The time: Turnip to three

Speaking of something that stinks, this is the latest chapter in the 100% vegan friendly saga. Within the past few days, the Swiss Chalet that Globally Local has been forced to endure sharing spaces with put up a “barricade” that blocked their drive through (sidenote: it’s a goddamn drive through, not a “drive-thru”. Thru isn’t a word. Spend the extra effort and use a couple extra keystrokes and spell it the way it’s supposed to be spelled). Here is a picture of the carnage, once again helpfully supplied by our friends at Globally Local:

I have played a lot of video games in my lifetime. If they have taught me anything, it’s that if when game designers don’t want you to go somewhere, you are completely blocked from doing so. This includes things that would normally be moved by trivial amounts of effort, such as empty milk crates and 2x4s but are inexplicably impassable.

There are a handful of stories and anecdotes on the story behind this, ranging from Globally Local using Swiss Chalet’s garbage bins, to GL’s own bins overflowing due to high and unexpected demand, to the drive-through blocking Swiss Chalet’s delivery lanes, to Swiss Chalet using this as a key pawn in their plans for world domination of the fast food industry in the geriatric age group. We can’t omit the “omnivorous society is oppressing us and our business venture” angle that is helpfully being marketed in order to drive more customers through their doors.

Here’s a verbatim quote from their Facebook page. Try to keep your lunch in place:

Swiss Chalet barricades our drive thru!! *please share*.
We will not be bullied by big corporations trying to disrupt our business. Thank you to the thousands of people that have come to visit us from all over Ontario on our opening week. We will continue to stay strong and overcome those that try to stop us from changing the food industry. Together will (sic) can change the world.

You’ve got it all figured out, Globally Local. Swiss Chalet, purveyor of adequate chicken dinners to middle aged and senior citizens is truly an existential threat to your success. We applaud you for sticking it to “The Man” by posting all over your social medias about how mean everyone is being to you, especially the manager of another restaurant chain who is just trying to manage their own operations. Are you looking for a pat on the head and to be sent back out into the gardens to play?

Sarcasm aside, Globally Local has a good business model, and I think that they will have a successful business. But their current marketing strategy is shifty and shady as hell. It’s sketchy, and it cheapens what they’re trying to accomplish. Their messages of feelgoodery are good enough on their own to not have to resort to bullshit like exploiting the feelings of victimization that their clientele feel, and using it to take their money.

The vandalism incident looks like a cheap, orchestrated PR stunt that was only done to rile up the passionate vegans serving as their brownshirts, helpfully absolving the business from any responsibility for the messaging and reaction that is part of the fallout. Sorry everyone, it’s just our customers being passionate. Not our fault. All the while, they’re fanning the flames and perpetuating all of the stereotypes that piss vegans off in the first place.

The Swiss Chalet drama has a lot more moving parts involved than the “vandalism”, some of which may even be not known to the public despite GL airing their dirty laundry online like a high schooler who just lost their first girlfriend. Swiss Chalet’s manager is obviously an Illuminati foot soldier whose sole goal in life is to squelch any vegetable nutrition from being added to our diet. Or, their manager is just a person making 13.50/hour trying to meet quota and make ends meet and giving zero fucks about what else is going on in the plaza unless it interferes with garbage disposal or the blocking of their deliveries.

For Globally Local: You’ve got yourselves a good model, with a rabid and passionate customer base. You don’t need to stoop to this bullshit marketing to pander to their feelings of oppression in order to be successful. This fake vandalism and the puerile “Can you believe what the evil people did?” stuff only puts you in a negative light for the people whose attention (and wallets) you’re trying to capture.

You don’t need to resort to these kinds of schoolyard tactics. Market on the strength of your business, and not on the victim complex of your clientele. They deserve better, and you don’t need it. They’ll keep giving you money, business, and exposure. Take the high road, and success will find its way to you. Your current strategy has an expiration date, and it’s coming up quickly. Be the bigger people, be mature, be honourable, and quit being shitty.