Guest post: when you hate on non-dairy milk, you just sound like an idiot.  »

Thanks to my obsessive personality combined with my penchant for evangelism, I am now lucky enough to have a vegan community that includes my mom, sister and three good friends. It’s really great to get to preach to the choir sometimes. Recently many of us have gathered to rant in perplexed fury about the anti non-dairy milk ads that are popping up on the netwaves recently.

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

The conversations usually go something like this:

“Really? Really? The dairy industry is trying to convince me not to use almond milk because I have to shake the box?” 

“Seriously? The diary industry thinks that the Riboflavin in soy milk is more scary to me than the chemicals, pus, and hormones in cow’s milk?” 

Etc. You get the idea. The ads are doing little more than poking the beehive for my non-diary friends.

Which is the point.

You see, these ads are not actually for us as non-dairy milk drinkers. I realized this after another rant session with a vegan friend, when I came up a little stumped. These ad writers are professionals. I don’t think they are stupid enough to think that a convicted non-dairy drinker is actually going to flip on their decision suddenly because they realize they don’t like to shake a milk box. Also, we are a pretty small minority to target with wide-scale video ads. Yes, we’re growing, but the recent Gallup poll reminds us that vegans only make up about 2% of the population. These ads don’t seem to be targeting people who presumably can’t drink milk from lactose intolerance, but those who are choosing not to because of an anti-dairy bias. So who are the ads for?

These ads are not weak arguments aimed to bring non-dairy drinkers back into the fold. They’re actually aimed at dairy drinkers to prevent them from considering the switch to non-dairy alternatives. This tactic was used recently with the so-dubbed “anti-fanboy ads” that Samsung Galaxy III released earlier this year. These ads showed a crowd lined up at an obvious-imitation of an Apple store being drawn into the benefits of a Galaxy 3 and eventually abandoning their cult-like appreciation of their unnamed phone (clearly an iPhone 4s). A cacophony of internet righteousness ensued with much mockery and name-calling on either side. Many people argued that the internet skirmish was intentionally crafted, that the ads weren’t actually aimed to get Apple users to abandon their iPhone but to give a pat-on-the-back to those who hate “Apple fanboys” and say, “welcome to the team.”

These “non-dairy milk is stupid” ads are using the same tactic: they are intended to  reinforce to dairy drinkers that people who would think of drinking anything other than cow’s milk are ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that we don’t even deserve rational logic to argue against. This serves to assuage any doubt that may be raised by the increasing number of people abandoning cow’s milk and affirms, “look at these crazy people who think cow’s milk isn’t God’s gift to the world. Good thing you’re not one of them.”

As for the indignation and fury from non-dairy drinkers as a result, that’s minor collateral damage. Or, one could say, just spilt milk.

Lucky for us, if youtube comments and votes indicate anything, no matter who these ads are actually aimed at, they don’t seem to be very successful. In fact, non-dairy are getting an opportunity handed to us to point out the flaws of dairy. Since the ads aren’t using any strong logical arguments against non-dairy milk, even dairy drinkers watch them with a little bit of “WTF?” This gives non-dairy drinkers the chance to make a case against dairy with dairy-drinkers on our side for once. So, show your friends, and make a day out of mocking how ridiculous these ads really are! It’s pretty fun.

Isaak Brown is a writer, youth worker, and highly enthusiastic and evangelistic vegan. Comments and thoughts are welcome at

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