Ruffles Original Potato chips are found on countless “accidentally vegan” lists. That is, food made without any animal products that is not marketed specifically for vegans. Happy accidents to the vegan community include things like Swedish Fish, chocolate syrup, cereals, and tons of other deliciously vegan foods that vegans and non-vegans can unite upon.
Ruffles then chose a bold stance. On Thanksgiving 2017, they released an advertisement for Tofu-urkey 100% Turkey-less chips:
At first glance, it seems brilliant. A flavor specifically marketed for vegans and vegetarians alike! Hurray! Rejoice!
And then your eyes wander over to the right and it reads: Limited Time: Never.
As if to add insult to injury, it is captioned with, “There’s a reason tofu-urkeys are never pardoned.”
Emotions are already running high.
Vegans everywhere are cooking up delicious, mouth-watering plates of plant-based food to share on our social media to prove you do not need to eat meat to enjoy the holiday. Pleading with anyone who will listen to eliminate, cut-back, or even just consider a kinder and more compassionate alternative.
Ever wonder what not to do to vegans on a holiday that over 46 million turkeys are slaughtered? A holiday where we weigh our options of even going to meal gatherings because for many it is a difficult time to watch our family and friends contribute to the pain and suffering of animals and the destruction of the environment?
The last thing you want to do, especially on Thanksgiving, is ridicule our meal options that vegans happen to be damn proud of.
In unison, the vegans of the internet fired back.
Nearly 24 hours later, there was already 1,800 reactions with nearly 1,400 of them ‘Angry’ on Facebook. Many of the comments expressing what we’re all thinking: No. More. Ruffles.
Twitter is taking a bit more comedic route with most of the replies being “Goodbye” gifs, and calls for boycotting the parent company, Frito Lay.
here’s a list of the brands that their parent company, Frito Lay, owns for anyone who needs it! pic.twitter.com/AyQlSB8vPK
— TⓋMMY (@tommytsunamiii) November 24, 2017
And my personal favorite: N’sync’s classic Bye Bye Bye
When vegans catch wind of a new product that isn’t green and leafy, it is spread around like wildfire. Vegan junk-food is a thing, and we would have loved to add tofu-urkey chips to our cupboards instead of throwing away our Originals that were already there.
You missed the mark. Animal suffering isn’t funny, and neither is your joke. This could have been used as on opportunity to grow your market instead of hurting it.
The negative reactions have since doubled. Vegans and non-vegans alike seem to finally agree on a topic surrounding food: this was a poor marketing move.
While Ruffles has not yet issued a formal apology, there are some Twitter users that have claimed to have gotten a personal DM apology:
L O L you’re still not getting my money ever again though pic.twitter.com/tF4JaoePTg
— Alissa (@alissatisz) November 25, 2017
In what could be a PR move, Ruffles’ next two tweets and Facebook posts show NBA2K18 paired with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. On the cover of NBA2k18 happens to be newly vegan NBA star Kyrie Irving.
While it is possible that this is a coincidence, it could be a small extension of an olive branch while they begin to mend the relationship.
PETA sent a letter to President and COO of Frito-Lay North American, Vivek Sankaran on 11/29 urging for the advertisement to be taken down. Ruffles soon after took down the advertisement on all social media platforms and issued a short but to the point apology.
A win for the animals.