With news in this week that a certain Swedish retailer has joined the list of companies whose beef products have been found to contain elements of horsemeat, it is interesting to take a look at how the advertising industry has reacted to this debacle. Many brands are using the now Europe-wide “horsemeat scandal” to their advantage. Last week, Mini capitalised on the public uproar to promote their new roadster with the tagline “Beef. With a lot of horses in it.” This play on words highlights the Mini Roadster’s 211 horsepower, but could not have been more perfectly timed! The print ad was created for Mini by Iris Worldwide.

Similarly, the troubled retailer Game, published a print ad in The Sun newspaper on 19th February stating “We make mince meat out of anything” in white letters against a dark background.  A spokeswoman for Game quipped: “We do encourage 100% horsepower when gaming.” The ad was designed by Game Group’s in-house team.

In a different approach, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) ran a ‘Buy British’ advertising campaign in national newspapers last weekend in direct response to the scandal, accompanied by the hashtag #BuyBritish. The NFU is championing British produce on social media, encouraging consumers to show their support and buy high standard food produced on British farms. Other industry bodies are uniting for the same cause, with Eblex (the English Beef and Lamb Executive), Bpex (the British Pork Executive) and Red Tractor Assurance also launching marketing campaigns encouraging British consumers to buy quality assured, traceable British beef, pork and lamb products, in order to re-establish consumer confidence in the industry.