The Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) ran an advertisement showing a variety of international religious figures eating together. Of course, they were all eat meat, in this case lamb because this is the MLA. Here is the MLA statement:
“The campaign features gods, prophets and deities from across a wide range of religions alongside atheism, in a clearly fantastic nature, with the intent of being as inclusive as possible. Our intent is never to offend, but rather acknowledge that lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures and capture how the world could look if people left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and minds.”
We you say you did not intend to offend, that mean you did. One of the religious figures was the Hindu god Ganesha. Does anyone see a problem with Ganesha eat meat? Anyone? Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Hinduism should have seen the problems coming. Complaints are appearing including a diplomatic objection from India. This is a paracrisis rather than a crisis. In its current state, this is a faux pas that does hurt the MLA’s reputation with some stakeholders. The as is part of a larger campaign called “You Never Lamb Alone.”
People may ask if MLA did this on purpose. After all, vegetarians and vegans are not their target audience. A little controversy can draw attention to a campaign and may even help to sell product. Still managers must consider the risk and reward of such actions. You might create a calculated paracrisis. Other companies have done it in the past, just ask Calvin Klein.
Questions to Consider:
1. How effective is the MLA statement at diffusing the situation? What the rational for your choice.
2. Do you think the MLA anticipated the reaction when they launched the campaign? Why or why not?
3. Why is it a stretch to call this a crisis?