NPR on Sid Lerner’s Meatless Monday

Today’s NPR “Morning Edition” aired a nine-minute segment on Sid Lerner’s promotion of Meatless Mondays. Lerner’s the advertising guru who created the “don’t squeeze the Charmin” campaign, and at 79 he’s spending his retirement years speaking for part-time vegetarianism.

Even though—or perhaps precisely because—Lerner’s not pushing full-time veganism, this sort of mellow one-day-a-week campaign poses a huge threat to the meat industry. Get people eating meatless all day on Monday, and they’ll start discovering plant-based foods they can enjoy the other six days of the week.

Towards the end of this segment, NPR turned to the American Meat Institute’s consistently useless Janet Riley for comment:

It seems if you’re concerned about people’s health, you’d want to have a Vegetable Tuesday or Whole Grains Wednesday. But now, we’re telling people to give up meat, and that’s unfortunate.

Notice how Riley creates a false either/or proposition: either you can help people go meatless or you can encourage them to eat healthier foods. This is of course nonsense, and the materials associated with Meatless Mondays-style campaigns invariably urge people to eat healthful vegetables and whole grains.

In essence, America’s meat industry wants you eating meat every day, ideally with every meal. And anything less constitutes a threat.

So what we have here is one of the world’s top advertising experts using his considerable skills to advance the common good. Sid Lerner and his nonradical, catchy campaign has got to be scaring the living shit out of the meat industry.

In the spirit of asking I’ve lately embraced, how about posting something to Twitter or Facebook asking your friends to give Meatless Mondays a try? Include this link. (Via Hawthorne.) Link. [This page offers a link to the segment, and also includes an abridged text transcript.]