Dining/ Environment/ Veganism

Is vegan the new ethical marketing buzzword?

The trend used to be that marketers and advertisers would latch onto anything green, natural or organic. Even if they wouldn’t explicitly say it, because it would blatantly be lying, they would use pristine rainforests, crystal clear lakes and cascading waterfalls. They let the images lawfully speak for them. The trend towards ‘greening’ every product on the market has gotten so out of control that the term Greenwashing was coined to describe unethical products with a green twist. Websites have sprung up everywhere helping consumers to tell the ethical from the manufactured. Go to Corp Watch Greenwashing Awards website and you can vote for your ‘favourite’ greenwashed product.

But it looks like ‘vegan’ might be the new catch phrase used by companies and corporations to show just how ethical, responsible and natural their product truly is. Even if that product is a new strip club. This month saw the opening of the world’s first vegan strip club in Portland, Oregon in the States. The press release lists Casa Diablo as the next natural convenience for ‘the most vegan city in America.’

The argument for a legitimate vegan entrepreneur trying to do his bit to promote cruelty-free businesses is there if you look for it. For example, a lot of the dancers are vegan or vegetarian themselves. (It helps keep the weight off, or so they say) And the girls aren’t allowed to wear leather, fur, silk or wool – of course they’re strippers so by the end of the night they’re not wearing anything at all. The owner has been a vegan for 23-years. And all food and drink served at the establishment is 100 per cent animal free.

The argument for this being one man trying to cash in on an ethical lifestyle option is as follows – there is no where that the strip club is advertised as vegan, outside of the media, that is. The menu items have no ingredients description, there is even an option to order chicken or beef. (Diablo says he likes to dupe his carnivore customers by serving them gluten-free, soy-based ‘meat’ products.) The ‘naughty-nurse’ flyers used to promote the clubs opening, littered everywhere throughout the city, covering the downtown area in ‘cheap nudie pictures’ had no mention of the vegan qualities of the establishment. A journalist who attended the opening night failed to see any food service happening anywhere and met with a dancer who didn’t care whether the club or the client was a carnivore or a vegan, she was just looking for a job.

I know which sides got my vote.

Should you be harboring any doubt that this isn’t a marketing ploy designed to get pressed by outraged, confused, annoyed or titillated members of the media, refer to the Casa Diablo MySpace page, where Johnny Diablo himself, the owner of the newest vegan and vag establishment talks about how he bankrupted his last eatery because, “most vegans live at the poverty level or below.” Guess he shouldn’t hold out any hopes for his latest vegan venture then.

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  • Aloo (4 comments)
    February 28, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Not so long ago, I used to have to explain to people what a vegan can eat. More recently, it is rare to find people who don’t know and it was somewhat exciting to hear or see something defined as vegan on a menu, marketing or the like.
    But I think you are right, it seems to be becoming a bit of a buzz word, and a marketing tag and I find myself questioning the motivation behind some products particularly when it really is quite irrelevant!

  • Tatiana (21 comments)
    February 29, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I totally agree. Being vegan is starting to become “sexy” in the media. Once the media gets a hold of things…watch out!

  • Canook (4 comments)
    March 25, 2008 at 3:54 am

    After only a month in business Portland’s Casa Diablo is for sale. Another failed money making venture for Johnny Diablo the ‘vegan’ entrepreneur.

  • austinpowell (2 comments)
    May 12, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Yeah, it’s just what I need, I’m about to have a new one

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