April 28, 1998
Nestle Frozen Food Division
Attn: Director of Marketing/Advertising
P.O. Box 96217
Phoenix, AZ 85072
Re: Stouffer's Lean Cuisine - Pepperoni Pizza Campaign
Recently I viewed one of your billboards and felt compelled to write you. The billboard is for Stouffer's French bread pepperoni pizza. The ad copy for the billboard reads along the lines of:
"Last time we checked, vegetarian wasn't a religion."
I am writing not to sound off as a "crackpot tree hugger" who can't take a "joke," but as an intelligent consumer, sensitive to the beliefs of others as well as a fellow marketing professional and a long-time vegetarian.
Firstly, while not a follower of the principals of Buddhism or Hinduism, I am of the understanding that a vegetarian-diet/lifestyle is a requirement of those belief systems. Secondly (and on a more personal note), my husband and I have been vegetarians for nearly seven years now. While we initially gave up eating meats (flesh products) and animal by-products (gelatin, rennett, etc.) because of health issues, we have since learned a lot about the "production" of meat (factory farming) and processing (inhumane slaughter) of animals to make those products. Because of the ethical issues raised by our increased knowledge on the subject, we made an ethical/moral decision, versus merely a health-conscious choice, to never again eat meat or use animal products (including leather, fur, etc.).
Our moral stance on this issue, while not based on a theological doctorine, is just as serious and just as steadfast for us as those who abstain from meat-eating for religious reasons. For these reasons, I suggest that not only is your billboard erroneous, but it is insensitive to the very consumers you are soliciting.
This letter is not sent with any hostility but in the hopes of educating you as to how at least one representative consumer feels about your sign/campaign and to make you aware that you may be offending others with it. While I would like to continue patronizing Nestles/Stouffer's, I do not feel I can. As a result of this campaign, I will discontinue purchasing your products and will be encouraging my friends to do likewise.
Lastly, let me suggest that you do you own research into how meat is produced, how the animals raised, abused and then inhumanely and painfully slaughtered, and how much they suffer. Perhaps you will decide for yourself that your billboard was in poor taste.
Very sincerely yours,
Cleveland, Ohio - Age 28
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