Irfanvertising: Beefed-up Branding

Read yet another report in today’s paper about how, ever since the Maharashtra government initiated a ban on beef slaughter (as the Hindu community worships cows), cattle are now being traded – for the same purpose of butchering – in neighbouring states. (The town in this report was Adilabad in the newly formed Telangana state.)

This piece, though, is not about veganism – check the post image above – but, yes, about advertising. I have come to believe it’s due to advertising, or rather, branding that the Tamil Nadu government will never look at the slaughter of beef and other “domesticable”/herbivorous animals in the state and therefore never call for such a ban. Let me explain…

In Chennai/Tamil Nadu, most meat shops have circumvented the “issue” of killing a “holy” animal (as well as other “non-aggressive” animals) ingeniously. They call themselves, not ‘meat shops’, but ‘protein shops’, typically having ‘Proteins’ as the second name in a name of two.

Meat shop named Hi-Proteins

The first name is typically the name of the owner (a guy’s name if it’s Muslim) and the owner’s wife/daughter’s name (if it’s Hindu).

Meat shop named Bismilla proteins Meat shop named Vijaya Proteins

Christian meat shops don’t appear to abound so much, or if they do, they aren’t very visible, as pork is largely shunned by the other communities. (Muslim folk don’t have it as it’s forbidden in Islam and Hindu folk seem to prefer the taste of the smaller animals, mostly chicken and goat.) Coming back to the proteins’ appendage, it’s brilliant: (some) people can have a problem if you’re having ‘meat’, but not if you’re consuming ‘proteins’, right? After all, we all need our daily dose of that substance, don’t we?

The ingenuity doesn’t end there. Some shops even feature pix of strongmen – bodybuilders, boxers, wrestlers – such as Schwarzenegger, Tyson, and Rock (unfortunately, I couldn’t curate these), obviously to indicate: “Have your daily dose of protein, and be strong like ’em”. Which child-rearing and self-nurturing person wouldn’t want that? (Ok, maybe not Tyson.) Interestingly, none of these sign-boards feature women, but given the shop-owners’ seeming tendency to usurp anyone related for their cause, I won’t be surprised to see Mary Kom beaming out of these one day.

Seriously, these guys deserve a collective Innovation-in-Advertising award.

So, if I start a vegan shop here someday, I know just what I’ll call it: Siddhartha Green Proteins (since I follow some Buddhist precepts). And I’ll feature… Patrik Baboumian.Vegan bodybuilder, Patrik Baboumian, lifting weights with huge pumpkins at each end


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