Plant-based meat companies are getting more creative with how they sell their products — and one of them just won a major award for pushing the envelope into "ick" territory.
Plant-based meat maker Oumph! and its marketing firm, LOLA MullenLowe, won a silver prize at the Cannes Lions Festival last week after rolling out a creepy cannibal-inspired ad campaign last Halloween.
The ads teased a "human meat burger" made from plants, which was supposedly made to taste like the "real" thing.
Oumph! released the burger for Halloween 2021, and the marketing team really leaned into the tongue-in-cheek cannibal angle.
However, the burgers were still 100% plant-based and made using soya, mushrooms, wheat protein and a "secret" spice mix, according to a news release from LOLA MullenLowe.
"No humans were injured in the development of this product," reads the disclaimer.
But if the creepy ads weren't enough, Oumph! also set up a food truck in Sweden to show off its limited-edition burgers last fall.
"It feels strange because I think it's tasty," one woman said in a promo video for the event.
Now, the humans behind the ad are getting a taste of sweet success thanks to the Cannes Lion Festival, which awards creative marketing campaigns.
“I am incredibly proud of this award and the great teamwork behind it! Our mission is to change how people eat, and it is our duty to use creativity as a tool to make this change happen,” Henrik Åkerman, global brand leader at Oumph!, said in a news release.
Oumph! co-founder Ankan Linden explained the "human meat" idea in a video posted on YouTube last year.
"We can make Oumph! taste like any meat you can ever imagine," he said in the video. "This hamburger is the most scary thing I've done in my whole life."
He added that he's never "actually tasted" human meat, but he tried to get close with the burger.
"It's a good burger," he added. "People are going to be curious, a little disgusted and afraid."
"It's just plant-based. It's nothing dangerous," he continued.
The advertisement, which Oumph! still has posted on their Instagram account, shows a dark and eerie hallway with someone walking toward a doorway, followed by shots of someone preparing meat and rows of knives before “plant-based human meat” appears on the screen.
So kudos to these guys for their creative marketing... but we're going to pass on giving these a try this summer!