Adam&EveDDB, Quorn deli ad, still

How vegan brands found their sense of humour

As plant-based brands have boomed, the way they’re branded and advertised has shifted from worthy to funny, sassy, and slightly surreal

‘Vegan’ and ‘playful’ haven’t always felt like the most natural bedfellows. But long gone are the days when veganism equated to lentils, ‘meat is murder’ banners, and one choice of non-dairy ‘milk’ in a dusty health food shop, if you’re lucky. Plant-based brands have, and are, booming – and as such, have to do more than ever to stand out from the competition.

And they’re not just looking to appeal to vegans, either. “It’s much wider. Brands are looking to target different audience segments, like families with teenagers who have specific dietary requirements, younger generations who are experimental with food, or foodie millennials,” says Chris White, managing director and founder of design agency This Way Up, which has a long history of working with vegan and plant-based brands. “For many, plant-based is still serious, self-righteous, and worthy,” he continues. “Humour plays an important role in breaking down the stigmas, opening the door to wider audiences.”

The power of playfulness is certainly not lost on adam&eveDBB, which recently created a fun, surreal, and smart campaign for Quorn’s new deli range, marrying traditional food porn tropes with a puppet-based approach that turns the idea of non-meat ‘alternatives’ on its head. While the ad is ostensibly showing off how delicious Quorn deli products are through all the usual signposts of dewy lettuce leaves, bouncy bread slices et al, it’s also poking fun at the idea of an ‘alternative’ product in this day and age.