Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has pulled its advertising campaign after just two days, following a wave of complaints from angry vegans.
GBK and the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) were inundated with complaints over the ad campaign which shows a young cow with the caption, "They eat grass so you don’t have to". Another read, "You always remember the time you gave up being vegetarian", with a third depicting one of their burgers, with the caption ‘Vegetarians, resistance is futile’.
The burger chain was accused, among other things, of picking on a minority group - Veganism is a protected belief under equality laws.
Thousands took to social media to show their anger, with the parody #gourmetmurderkitchen trending on Twitter.
You have also reinforced the stigma behind vegan diets, poked fun at animal suffering and pissed your customers off. #gourmetmurderkitchen
— Lucy Ⓥ (@LucyHRichards) January 16, 2016
Jasmijn de Boo, CEO of The Vegan Society, said: “What a wonderful example of the power of the people to change things. They spotted an injustice, and made their voices heard. GBK had no choice but to listen and react.
“GBK has shown itself to be totally out of touch. These outdated and highly offensive ads were completely misjudged and smacked of both naivety and ignorance. Were they not aware of the growth of the vegan movement?"
In a Facebook post, Gourmet Burger Kitchen said: “We’ve been reading the reaction to our latest advertising campaign and needless to say, we’re quite taken aback.
“Our intentions were light-hearted and not meant to cause any offence, but clearly we have, and for that we apologise.
“Having read all your comments and messages, we’ve made the decision to take down some of the adverts.”