Can this cute but scary dino turn you vegan?

Vegamama terrifies a crowd of people
(Image credit: Uncommon/Wagamama)

Only one per cent of the UK population calls itself vegan. But Wagamama, a British restaurant chain serving Japanese-inspired food, is out to change that, with a campaign that comes straight out of left-field.

We all know the vegan advertising cliches: bright colours, plants bursting with life, sunny vistas, vaguely hippy and right-on symbols. But while that might work for the target audience, it's not cutting through to everyone. So this new campaign, masterminded by London creative studio Uncommon takes a very different tack. 

Summoning the spirit of Godzilla, the ads feature Vegamama, a colossal rubber dinosaur who’s hungry for vengeance, angry at the state of our world. 

Vegamama using heat-ray vision

(Image credit: Uncommon/Wagamama)

The ad opens in present day, with the words 'Our Planet is Burning' as our camera flies over the outskirts of a polluted city. Suddenly, Vegamama rises dramatically through the tarmac: angry and seeking revenge on humankind.

The film climaxes as Vegamama shoots off her bionic arm to explode an off-shore oil rig. We then cut to a boy eating ramen in front of a Wagamama restaurant. He calms the monster by telling her he understands her anger, but that eating more plants is a powerful way to help our planet.

Man standing in street with ramen noodles

(Image credit: Uncommon/Wagamama)

It's all a lot of fun, but is also a smart way to harness the strong feelings people around the world have about environmental problems: both reflecting their anger about societal inaction, and offering them a way to contribute themselves.

How it was made

Swedish director Vedran Rupic of Riff Raff says he wanted the monster to feel scary but cute. He took influence from 1950s-1970s cinematography, Japan's Kaiju film genre, and saturated colour palettes to evoke feeling of nostalgia. VFX was led by Ulf Lunden, and it's all set to an original composition by Gustav Jennefors.

To add authenticity, the monster was sculpted in physical form, and worn by an actor. After initial concepting in Photoshop, the suit was modelled in 3D and clay, before being brought to life using foam, latex, and sophisticated animatronics, giving her the ability to move her face and eyes.

The body was sprayed with latex and sculpted foam to get the authentic Kaiju texture. After the whole body was assembled, Vegamama was meticulously spray-painted.

The campaign will run on TV, cinema, online and social and will be supported by outdoor advertising later in the year. Watch the ad in full below.

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Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.