Pan-Asian restaurant chain Wagamama is making 50% of its menu vegan by the end of this year. To promote the move, it debuted a new U.K. ad starring an angry Godzilla-like vegan who wreaks eco-revenge on humans who have destroyed the planet.
The spot is the first film work for the brand from agency Uncommon, which earlier this year created an outdoor installation for Wagamama called "Kintsugi benches," based on the Japanese artform centered on mending broken pottery with gold. Keeping with the Japanese inspiration, its new "Vegamama" dinosaur is based on the "kaiju" film genre involving giant creatures of the Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan ilk.
The opening caption announces, "Our planet is burning," and we then see the giant creature breaking through tarmac and rising above the streets of a polluted city. "Vengeance is on the menu," the spot reads as the beast goes on to attack factories and tower blocks, even taking out an oil rig with a bionic arm. However, a man with a bowl of ramen outside a Wagamama branch tells him to stop because "eating more plants is one of the most powerful things we can do to help our planet." Vegamama shrugs and says "ok" before walking away, taking a bite out of a Wagamama billboard advertising the new menu.
RiffRaff director Vedran Rupric directed the spot, influenced by mid twentieth-century cinematography. He crafted the creature to appear both scary and cute. Its suit was modeled in 3D and in clay and brought to life with foam, latex and animatronics.
The spot is running on TV, online and social and will be supported by out-of-home later in the year. Wagamama is owned by The Restaurant Group and has 200 restaurants worldwide including six in the U.S. Ahead of next month's COP26 climate conference, the brand is also asking people to take a "plant pledge" to eat more plant-based foods. Those who sign on will receive a voucher for a vegan side dish.