How the Eating Better Alliance got meat-lovin' men #VegCurious by combatting masculine stereotypes

Celebrated chef Bruno Loubet

The Eating Better Alliance (EAB) was intent on piquing the curiosity of UK men with vegetables using a tongue in cheek multi-platform campaign created by a team of volunteer creatives at Do It Day.

The UK government claims that a majority of men (six out of 10) eat more than the government’s recommended 70g of red and processed meat a day. This leaves a substantial carbon footprint (red meat is the worst offender when compared with other meat types) – furthermore global agriculture drives 15% of greenhouse emissions.

Beyond the sustainability of feeding a rapidly growing populace with a dependency on red meat products, the health implications of sustained consumption has been linked to bowel cancer and more in medical studies.

The EAB identified that a dependency upon red meat was especially prevalent in men, (almost two thirds) compared to just a quarter of women. The inarguable links between masculinity and red meat was identified as an attitude that must be altered through educating the public on the vast array of vegetarian meal options and by combating the societal pressure seemingly place upon men to eat meaty meals.

On Do It Day, the EAB launched the #VegCurious campaign to draw men to healthier options. Top chef Bruno Loubet led the charge in a video intent on providing a series of recipes that could seriously contend with the much-loved steak and sausage (his chili con veggie recipe looks seriously appealing...).

Featuring in the TVC and social media creative was weightlifting avatar Reg, serving as the epitome of meaty masculinity, he was used to combat the very real stereotypes surrounding meat consumption, asking young blokes and brands aligned with this audience the intriguing question: “Are you VegCurious?”

The work was brought to life on ad space donated by Clear Channel at its iconic site Piccadilly Circus, the Guardian and Scottish broadcaster STV’s network. Furthermore, a series of influencers were contacted to provide further conversations and recipes to keep the conversation going in a campaign very much anchored on showing, not telling, men just how good veg-based recipes can taste. These concoctions were hosted upon a visually appealing, specially created website featuring Reg and compelling copy urging gents to adopt the veg.

Tessa Tricks, creative partner Hubbub, said: “We know that badgering blokes about eating bacon won’t instigate long term behaviour change. To encourage people towards more sustainable diets, we need to rethink how we package a less meat message to make it aspirational and fun."

She said that “fun and positive messaging” would help have a “positive impact on both carbon emissions and public health”.

Sue Dibb, co-ordinator for Eating Better, underlined that “Vegcurious is challenging the myth that meat equals masculinity,” adding that a campaign was needed to alter the perception many men have towards vegetable-based receipes, intent on reworking the balance between the food staples rather than encouraging a full out replacement.

She concluded: “What vegcurious aims to do, in a humorous way, is shine a spotlight on an area of our behaviour that we take for granted and encourage men to challenge their own assumptions. We’re not asking them to give up meat - just to experiment more with vegetable options."

Check out how The Drum's other Do It Day challenges fared here - and remember, it's never too late to commit your talent to any of the fantastic causes launching their campaigns during Do It Day.

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