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A fake bite of fake meat — will it do the trick?

14 June 2022
Maria Soroka
Do Brits believe Kim Kardashian's ad for Beyond Meat?
Fastuna's Video Test results.
Kim Kardashian, known for her reality show The Kardashians, may not come to mind as the first choice when it comes to plant-based food alternatives, but with over 300 million followers on Instagram, she certainly is the force to be reckoned with. The plant-based meat maker Beyond Meat recruited the famous celeb as its "chief taste consultant," in addition to starring in a new campaign focused on the brand’s mission of health and sustainability.
Beyond Meat has been known to lose its stock year after year, so a bold move with Kim’s hiring will definitely help the company win back its audience and potentially win new loyal consumers. However, as soon as the ad went live, it immediately drew some pretty scathing comments on social media, which speculated that Kim had never tasted the food that was in front of her.
What impact will such controversial advertising have on Beyond Meat’s market share: will it pay off or fail? The best way to learn is to test it on real people.
So we asked 100 men and women in the UK what they think about it.
The way this video was tested
What did we test? Kim Kardashian Beyond Meat Chief Taste Consultant.
Who did we target? National representative sample of Brits between 18 and 65 y.o.
How was it tested? We used the Video Test solution on the Fastuna platform. Online panel respondents were sent a survey link to their email. After watching the video, they answered our survey questions. We also added a couple of bespoke questions about their eating habits and brands they buy, as well as the impact this ad has on the Beyond Meat brand.
Let’s start with a bold figure
My personal big aha moment of this whole study was to reveal how many people in Britain actually bought meat alternatives within the last 12 months: 75%! This figure is significantly higher than what we obtained last year in our plant-based study. This means that the Beyond Meat advert should be extremely relevant to a wider target audience. But was it?
It didn’t have to score so low
Well, not really. The overall perception score was 48 out of 100, which is a weak result, according to Fastuna’s standardized norms. Other scores like 'interesting' which translates into the ability of the ad to hold the attention of the audience to the very end, likability, uniqueness, relevance, believability, search, trial and word of mouth potential were all in the yellow-red zone.
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How could something as simple as taking a bite of the food that is being promoted be overlooked? Both on social media and in our test results a few viewers noticed that Kim Kardashian didn’t appear to have taken a bite of her allegedly delicious meat substitute. How can that be? Did she not like it, some wondered? Was she too concerned about her makeup?
She’s not even eating it anyway — an ambassador for it apparently but she’s clearly in it for the money with no actual interest — poor acting as well. Female, 32
This leads us to the next issue with this ad amongst the British audience. Kim Kardashian is seen as a model for a distant fake world that many cannot relate to. Many see the ad as fake, gimmicky or they simply dislike the protagonist. Very few saw the presumingly intended humor in it. This may explain some of the low scores such as only 38% of consumers would tell others about it.
It didn’t make me feel it was authentic. Female, 65
Shocking why they thought she would be a good choice to represent the brand is beyond me and I definitely wouldn't consider buying. Female, 32
Still, there is a certain number of people who liked the advert for its clarity, the ethical element and using a celeb to extend the reach of a good message.
It is clear and simple to follow the message of the advert. Male, 28
It promotes healthy eating without meat. Male, 59
I am intrigued to find out more about the brand. I think they are clever to work with Kim K as this will reach such a huge audience and may help convert more people to the particular diet. Female, 29
Brand link
Ok, maybe even though Kim is not everyone’s cup of tea, she does a positive job for the brand itself using her massive following. With around 50% identifying as some sort of a non meat eater: vegan, vegetarian, pescaterian or flexitarian, and 75% who bought any brand of meat alternative within the last 12 months, they are likely to look for alternatives and explore options. So we asked consumers what they thought of Beyond Meat after seeing this ad.
Don’t like that they’ve used Kim Kardashian but I do like that celebrities are promoting this. Female, 30
I am interested in all vegan/vegetarian products so this is something I would be interested in trying. Male, 55
It looks interesting and worth a try. Female, 37
Bigger job to do
There are two jobs this ad should do. One is to raise awareness about meat alternatives amongst those who are not yet in the market to hopefully pull some people from outside of the core target audience. Sales will show if the investment is paying off but one thing we can say for sure is that awareness of meat alternatives has been raised and a good number of meat eating consumers have commented positively about wanting to try plant-based alternatives.
And another — promote the brand to those already interested in plant-based in order to increase market share in that particular market. Currently Beyond Meat enjoys about 20% of the share after Quorn (51%), Linda McCartney Foods (35%) and Supermarket’s own (32%). So let’s see if this ad will help them to get closer to the current industry leaders and drive their stock shares up again.
Will 300 million followers lead to sales growth?
Kim Kardashian definitely doesn’t appeal to everyone however her reach is immense. This is one of many examples when a consumer feedback tool, such as Fastuna is a great helper in understanding your risks vs benefits of choosing a particular brand representative. What is the opportunity cost of a celeb with such a large following?
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